Bhopalis Protest Agri Ministry Inaction on Dow Bribery Scandal

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information & Action

PRESS RELEASE
dursbanlabel.jpg
banned in the US, sold freely in India after Dow’s bribes secured its registration
NEW DELHI, 25 APRIL, 2008 — Thirty survivors of the Bhopal Gas disaster, staged a die-in in front of the Agriculture Ministry demanding cancellation of registration of three pesticides Dursban, Nurelle and Pride made by American multinational Dow Chemical Company. The Bhopal activists pointed out that Dow Chemical has admitted to paying $200,000 (Rs. 88 lakhs) in bribes to Agriculture Ministry officials to expedite registration of the three pesticides. The company had to pay a fine of US $325,000 (Rs. 1.43 crores) to the Securities Exchange Commission for violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act last year. They charged the Minister of Agriculture with failing to keep his promise of May 4, 2007 to the Parliament of taking action against the company after the CBI submitted its investigation report on this crime of bribery.
The Bhopal survivors who are on the 27th day of their dharna at Jantar Mantar after a grueling 800 kilometer padayatra from Bhopal said that because of the Minister’s inaction, the three illegally registered pesticides continue to be produced and marketed in India. Dursban, one of the three pesticides, is banned for home use in the USA because it is a neurotoxin that can cause permanent damage to children’s brain. “Dow’s Dursban will rob Indian children of their childhood and their lives. The only thing more scandalous than permitting its use by taking bribes is allowing its continued use even after the bribery was exposed,” said Yasmin Khan, a 11-year old child from Bhopal who is among the fifty who walked from Bhopal to New Delhi.
Expedited registration resulted in generating an estimated US $435,000 (Rs. 1.9 crores) from accelerated sales out of which US $ 330,000 (Rs. 1.45 crores) went to Dow Chemicals, USA. On August 16, 2007, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a First Information Report against the Indian government officials and consultants of Dow’s Indian subsidiary after raiding the company’s offices in Faridabad, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Bharuch and Ghaziabad. However, till date, the CBI has not taken any action against either the officials of Dow’s Indian office or its US parent.
For more information, contact:
Nityanand Jayaraman: 9717516003
Rachna Dhingra: 9717516005
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
B5/136, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110 029
Facts on the Dow Chemical Dursban Bribery Scandal
A factsheet on the proscribed neuro-toxic pesticide Dursban (Word doc)
WHO GAVE: The Dow Chemical Company, USA through its Indian subsidiary.
TO WHOM: Officials of the Central Insecticide Registration Board, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India and Agriculture Ministry officials in Maharashtra.
FOR WHAT: Faster registration of three pesticides “Pride, Nurelle-D and Dursban 10G.
TO WHAT END: Expedited registration resulted in generating an estimated 435,000 US $ from accelerated sales out of which 330,000 US $ went to Dow Chemicals, USA.
WHEN: Between 1996 and 2001. Nurelle-D registered on July 29, 1997, Dursban registered on April 24, 1998 and Pride registered on May 5, 2000.
HOW MUCH: Over $200,000
THE BRIBE BREAK-UP
Money to register its products $39,700
State-level agriculture inspectors $87,400
Gifts, travel and entertainment $37,000
Government officials $19,000
Sales tax officials $11,800
Excise tax officials $3,700
Custom officials $1,500

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE ABOUT IT:
In USA: On February 13, 2007 the Securities and Exchange Commission asked Dow Chemical to pay a fine of 325,000 US $s which the company paid. Dow admitted to giving bribe and paid the fine.
In India: Punishment for giving bribe under Indian Penal Code: Upto one year’s imprisonment with fine
On May 4, 2007, Minister of Agriculture assured the Indian Parliament that he has ordered an investigation and action will be taken against the company after investigation is over.
On August 16, 2007 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a First Information Report against Indian government officials and Indian consultants of Dow Chemical’s subsidiary after raiding offices
of Dow Chemical’s Indian subsidiary in Faridabad, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Bharuch and Ghaziabad.
Status as on April 9, 2008:
a.     No action initiated against Dow Chemical, USA despite its admitting the crime.
b.     No action taken against Indian officials and Dow Chemical’s Indian consultants despite submission of CBI’s investigation report.

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