India to Sue Union Carbide in U.S., Official Says

From Reuters

The Indian government will file a lawsuit against Union Carbide Corp. in the United States on behalf of all victims of the poison gas leak that killed more than 2,000 persons last December, a senior Indian official said Friday.

Minister of State for Law H. R. Bharadwaj told Reuters in an interview that Law Secretary B. S. Sekhon was putting finishing touches on the lawsuit in the United States and that it will be filed "in the next few days."

"We felt individual victims would not be able to fight Union Carbide, so . . . we decided to act on their behalf," Bharadwaj said.

Sekhon flew to New York five days ago to hire a firm of U.S. lawyers, Bharadwaj said. He did not name the firm.

In New York, U.S. District Judge John Keenan on Friday postponed until April 16 a pretrial hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday to consider whether U.S. courts have jurisdiction over several suits totaling several billions of dollars filed in the United States on behalf of gas victims.

In the Indian capital, Minister Bharadwaj said Atty. Gen. K. Parasaran had reported after a visit to the United States in January that the Indian government could intervene on behalf of the gas victims.

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