A judge issued arrest warrants Tuesday for two officials of Union Carbide Corp. and the American company's former chairman, Warren Anderson, to face charges of "culpable homicide" of nearly 3,000 Bhopal gas victims.
Chief Judicial Magistrate R. C. Mishra said Anderson and two company representatives had failed to appear in his court despite being issued three summonses since the criminal charges related to the world's worst industrial disaster were issued by the government in December 1987.A Union Carbide spokesman said Tuesday Indian courts have no jurisdiction over the company, its affiliate Union Carbide Eastern or Anderson.
"Union Carbide Corp. is not an Indian corporation, it has no presence in India and under Indian law it can have no presence in India," spokesman Earl Slack said from the company's world headquarters in Danbury, Conn.
The Bhopal pesticide factory was shut down after the 1984 disaster.
"We believe the energy expended in the pursuit of ill-founded criminal charges in India could be more productively invested in getting aid to the victims, or in revealing evidence that would confirm the tragedy was caused by sabotage," Slack said.
Mishra ordered the arrests of Anderson, Union Carbide's assistant secretary, John Mcdonald, and Peter J. Whiteley, an attorney who received the summons on behalf of Union Carbide Eastern (UCE), the corporation's Hong Kong-based subsidiary.
"They are violating the summonses issued to them and are deliberately trying to delay the case," Mishra said in the Magistrates Court in Bhopal, 375 miles south of New Delhi. "It has been directed that bailable warrants be issued."