With the verdict in the Bhopal gas disaster case having drawn fresh attention to the nuclear liability bill, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma asserted on Wednesday that the two issues had nothing to do with each other.
''They are two different issues. There are defined laws. The criminal, corporate and civil liabilities are very much defined in the laws of both countries,'' he told newspersons in Washington after the Indo-US CEOs Forum meet.
He also said that the 1984 Bhopal gas leak case did not come up in any way at the forum. When asked why the raging issue did not arise in the CEO meet, the minister said, ''It never came up. In none of my interactions - I didn't raise it. Nor did my interlocutors."
The local court's verdict in the case over the 1984 gas leak from the Union Carbide pesticide plant, which claimed over 15,000 lives and still poisons the region, invited the ire of the public as well as the political opposition, as the convicts were let off with virtually a slap on the wrist even as the main accused, the then chief executive of Union Carbide, Warren Anderson, escaped punishment.
The disappointing verdict in the world's worst industrial accident raised questions if India should still go ahead with the nuclear liability bill with America.
On the US demand for opening up different segments to foreign investors, Sharma said India will go for calibrated foreign direct investment liberalisation in sectors like insurance, defence and retail.