New Delhi: After Arjun Singh’s posthumously released autobiography claimed R.D. Pradhan helped set free Union Carbide’s then chief Warren Anderson in 1984, the former home secretary said the Congress leader must have made a mistake. “There is a mistake about my part. I was not in New Delhi at the time of the tragedy and the arrest. You have to ask him (Arjun Singh) about how did he learn about me…He is not alive,” Pradhan said.
Pradhan said he was the chief secretary of Maharashtra during the deadly gas leak from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and not the union home secretary then, as claimed in the book. “Somebody must have spoken to him (Singh), adding to speculations. He learnt about it indirectly. It is a lapse of memory. He was in the last stages of his life and was not in a position to check with me,” he said.
Pradhan also said he would “not take any action against Arjun Singh, co-writer Ashok Chopra and the publisher”.
Pradhan said he was yet to see the book, written in Hindi, or its English translation, titled ‘A Grain of Sand in the Hourglass of Time’.
“It often happens with translations. The book was translated into English after his death. I’m a writer; I know it happens,” the former Indian Administrative Service officer said, adding, “I have asked the publisher to send me a copy of the book.”
In the chapter titled Bhopal Gas Tragedy in the book, Arjun Singh writes that “he had come to know that the union home secretary R.D. Pradhan, upon instructions from the then union home minister, had telephoned chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh to ensure Anderson’s release”.
Arjun Singh was the Madhya Pradesh chief minister when the tragedy struck December 2-3, 1984, killing thousands of people in the world’s worst industrial disaster.