Bhopal trial: Eight found guilty of India gas leak The effects of the gas continue to this day A court in the Indian town of Bhopal has convicted eight people in connection with the gas plant leak that killed thousands of people more than 25 years ago. The eight face a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison for causing "death by negligence". The leak at the Union Carbide plant was worst industrial disaster in history. Forty tonnes of a toxin called methyl isocyanate leaked from the factory and settled over slums on 3 December 1984. Campaigners say at least 15,000 people were killed within days, and say the horrific effects of the gas continue to this day. The site of the former pesticide plant is now abandoned. It was taken over by the state government of Madhya Pradesh in 1998, but environmentalists say poison is still found there. The eight people convicted include former senior officials of the Union Carbide company, including senior Indian businessman Keshub Mahindra, who was the chairman of the company when the incident happened. The sentences are expected to be announced soon. More than a dozen judges have heard the criminal case since 1987, when India's leading detective agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), charged eight people with "culpable homicide not amounting to murder". That charge could have led to up to 10 years of imprisonment for the accused. BHOPAL'S DEATH TOLL Initial deaths (3-6 December): more than 3,000 - official toll Unofficial initial toll: 7,000-8,000 Total deaths to date: over 15,000 Number affected: Nearly 600,000 Compensation: Union Carbide pays $470m in 1989 Source: Indian Supreme Court, Madhya Pradesh government, Indian Council of Medical Research Among those charged are Warren Anderson, the chairman of Union Carbide at the time of the incident in 1984. However, in 1996, India's Supreme Court reduced the charges to "death by negligence", carrying a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison if convicted. Campaigners say Bhopal has an unusually high incidence of children with birth defects and growth deficiency, as well as cancers, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. These are seen not only among survivors of the gas leak but among people born many years later, they say. Twenty years ago Union Carbide paid $470m (Â£282m) in compensation to the Indian government. Dow Chemicals, which bought the company in 1999, says this settlement resolved all existing and future claims against the company.