US-based Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding early hearing on the government’s curative petition in the Bhopal gas disaster case, saying delays are being used to besmirch the reputation of its parent firm, Dow Chemicals.

UCC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (TDCC), in the petition sought a fixed timetable for hearing and early disposal of the curative petition filed by the Union Government in December 2010, seeking to reopen the settlements granted by the apex court in the Bhopal gas disaster case.

It said that its parent firm, TDCC had no connection with the events at Union Carbide India Ltd’s Bhopal factory in 1984. TDCC had acquired UCC in 2001, 17 years after the Bhopal gas tragedy and 12 years after the settlement of claims.

The plant from which the gas leak occurred was owned by Union Carbide India Ltd, in which UCC owned 50.9 per cent stake at the time of the tragedy in 1984. Union Carbide India Ltd continues to exist and is now known as Eveready India Ltd.

UCC in the petition stated that it has not merged with its parent firm, TDCC, whose sponsorship of the London Olympics has created a controversy here.

Allegations that TDCC has failed to clean up the toxicity of the plant site are baseless, it said, citing the 1991 ruling of the Supreme Court which stated that UCC had no further liabilities after payment of the $425 million compensation.

“However, the fact that the Curative Petitions are now pending has given a handle to the NGOs, purporting to represent the interest of the victims of the Bhopal tragedy, to once again make this kind of allegations against the UCC and its parent company,” the petition said.

(This article was published on May 6, 2012)
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