The group of ministers (GoM), which submitted its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, has made an observation saying that Dow Chemicals, the US-based company which bought UCC in 2001, cannot be made liable for ''criminal'' offences in the gas leakage tragedy, which took place 26 years ago in Bhopal.
The GoM, however, recommended filing a curative petition in the Supreme Court seeking restoration of the stringent charges filed in the CBI chargesheet against the accused in the case.
The panel has also recommended a central package of Rs1,300 crore for the victims, enhancing the compensation for the kin of dead to Rs10 lakh and for the permanently disabled Rs5 lakh.
Those temporarily disabled will get Rs1 lakh, while those afflicted by cancer and other serious ailments will get Rs2 lakh. The money would be given after deducting payments already made to the victims.
A special meeting of the Union Cabinet has been called on Friday to deliberate and decide on the recommendations of the GoM, which is also believed to have recommended to the government that it could pursue the ''civil liability'' of Dow Chemicals by following up on a case in the Bhopal high court's Jabalpur bench.
The GoM has taken a view that the onus of cleaning up of the disaster site in Bhopal would rest with the state government and the centre would only provide financial and technical support to it. This is going to be the first time that the government would be undertaking the detoxification, dismantling and removal of a toxic plant.