LONDON_ A Union Carbide CoTp. Executive said the company believes someone deliberately caused the gas leak at its plant in Bhopal, India, that killed at least 2,500 people last December.

Jackson Browning, vice-president for health, safety and environment affairs, said someone introduced 120 to 240 gallons of water into a storage tank, triggering a chemical reaction that led to the release of a deadly cloud of methyl isocyanate.

“We have all but ruled out anything but a deliberate act,” Browning told a chemical industry conference Thursday.

Browning also said the Bhopal plant “for reasons which we have been unable to ascertain” had been violating safety regulations since July 1984.

Until now Union Carbide had not gone beyond saying that sabotage could not be ruled out but that the introduction of water into the storage tanks could have been accidental.

The Guardian newspaper today quoted Gita Sahgal, an official of the Bhopal Victims Support Committee, as “categorically rejecting any suggestion of sabotage.”

“We have firm proof that Union Carbide had been running down manning and safety procedures at the plant,” she said.

Thousands of people many of them blinded have filed damage claims thought to total $100 billion against Union Carbide.

Article extracted from this publication >>  November 15, 1985