Dow Chemical caught bribing Indian government officials

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Bhopal ki Aawaaz

February 16, 2007
Press Statement
At a press conference today, leaders of four Bhopal survivors and support organisations called on the Government to lodge an FIR against The Dow Chemical Company (USA) and its Indian subsidiary Dow Agrosciences India (earlier DeNocil) for bribes paid by the company. They have also demanded separate enquiries by law enforcement authorities and the Economic Offences Wing of the Government of India into the matter.
Earlier this week, Dow Chemical paid a fine of $325,000 (Rs. 1 crore 43 lakhs) to US financial regulator Securities Exchange Commission for paying $200,000 (Rs. 88 lakhs) in bribes to several Indian Government officials. According to the SEC records, a senior official in the Central Insecticides Board received $39,700 (Rs. 16 lakhs) for registering Dow’s pesticides in India between 1996 and 2001. Other state officials received $87,400 (Rs. 38 lakhs) for facilitating distribution and sales of Dow’s pesticides.
Bhopal survivors have long demanded withdrawal of Indian registration for Dow’s flagship product – Dursban (chlorpyriphos) – a pesticide banned for domestic use in the United States. In 2000 US environmental officials forced its withdrawal found the chemical to be widely present in ground water and human body, and linked to brain damage. Yet Dow continues to produce and market Dursban in India for domestic use falsely claiming that it is safe for humans.
The survivors’ leaders said that there have been several instances in the past when Dow’s dishonest practices in India have been exposed. In 2005, Indian Oil Corporation cancelled a deal with Dow because the company falsely sold Union Carbide technology as its own. Last year, Dow Corning, a joint venture of Dow Chemical, obtained regulatory approval from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for setting up a factory near Pune despite making false submissions. Dow Corning managed to get a permission to operate their factory despite submitting a map of its factory in Elizabethtown in the United States instead of a local site map as required by Indian law.
“The bribes to senior officials are merely the tip of the iceberg. We find even the Prime Minister’s office turning a blind eye to the ongoing crimes of Union Carbide and Dow Chemical and offering special privileges for expansion of Dow Chemical’s business in this country.” said Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh. The leaders pointed out that under directions from the Prime Minister, the Planning Commission has set up a special task force to facilitate Dow’s investments in India. According to the leaders the key to the preferential treatment given to Dow in India can only be uncovered by an investigation probing irregularities at the highest levels of the Government.
Survivor organisations also criticized the Madhya Pradesh state government’s recent move in the Madhya Pradesh High Court to help Dow evade environmental liability by applying for Rs. 2 crores from the Government of India for disposal of hazardous chemical waste stored inside the Bhopal factory. “We demand an enquiry into the reasons why the Madhya Pradesh Government is eager to protect Dow from liability by passing on the costs of toxic waste disposal to the Central Government,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
94256 88215
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
93290 26319
Shahid Noor
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
98261 82226
Satinath Sarangi,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
98261 67369
Contact : House No. 60, Near Cold Storage, Union Carbide Road, Chhola, Bhopal
Please visit www.bhopal.net for more information on the campaign for justice in Bhopal

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