Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Thursday denied any wrongdoing in his defending Dow Chemicals, which purchased Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), as a legal counsel in courts.
There is no conflict of interest in representing Dow Chemical in courts as a lawyer and being the member of political party, said Singhvi, brushing aside charges of wrongdoing for defending the UCIL’s parent company. Dow Chemicals had bought UCIL in February 2001.
After Dow Chemicals took over UCIL, the Bhopal gas leak tragedy victims moved the court of city’s chief judicial magistrate to summon Dow Chemicals, contending that the new company has to take over all the legal liability of the UCIL.
The court issued a summon to Dow Chemical, which was later stayed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2005. It was in this case that Singhvi is said to have represented Dow Chemicals.
“I have no idea of this charge (conflict of interest), as you call it… it is laughable,” said Singhvi.
“This is an old case… it involves only the threshold legal question – whether Dow is same as, or even remotely related to – Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL),” he told a news channel, adding that “for three-four years, these NGOs (representing Bhopal gas tragedy victims) have been trying to prove Dow and UCIL are the same. Courts have not accepted this… the application is still pending.”
“I represent Dow Chemicals as a senior counsel, I don’t deal directly with them,” Singhvi said on the phone from Yale, where he is currently leading an Indian delegation.
“I don’t mix my law and politics. I don’t even know Dow Chemicals in the direct sense in any manner. I am instructed by solicitors. Several senior counsels have appeared for them or given them opinion or advice in a purely legal sense and senior counsels are instructed by advocates and solicitors. It has got nothing to do with the government, this case or the Bhopal case,” he added.