People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 27

July 04, 2010

Action Demanded against Dow Chemical for Bribery


Brinda Karat, MP and Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M), sent on June 26 the following letter to Sharad Pawar, minister for agriculture, regarding a CBI inquiry into the corrupt practices indulged in by Dow Chemicals.


THIS is to draw your attention to an assurance made by you in the Rajya Sabha regarding a CBI inquiry into the corrupt practices indulged in by Dow Chemical to bribe Indian officials to sell a pesticide, namely Dursban produced by them, in India. In this connection I had made a special mention on April 27, 2007, on the revelations made in the US Security Exchange where Dow Chemical had to pay a fine, according to US law for bribery to Indian officials and demanded criminal action against those involved and blacklisting of the company. Subsequently, in answer to parliamentary questions on May 4, 2007, you had agreed to institute a CBI inquiry. A year later on April 25, 2008, again the issue was raised and you had replied that you have not received the CBI report.


It is now three years since then. Has the CBI report been received? It is strange indeed that although Dow has had to pay a fine in the United States for corrupt practices indulged in within India, the government of India has still not taken any action either against the Indian officials or more importantly the company itself.


The matter is all the more important because it concerns the sale of an insecticide (chlopyriphos) which has been banned in the United States because of its harmful effects on children. In India, the plant protection advisor constituted a committee which recommended that the use of the insecticide could continue though with strict monitoring. Has the government put in place such monitoring? Has the government collected the data as advised by the committee? In view of the corrupt practices revealed has the government considered a review of the entire process of recommendation that the insecticide could be used in India?


If the CBI has given its report, I would request you to make it public. In any case, since there is prima facie evidence of corruption, it is inexplicable why your ministry is not acting against those involved in bribery and corruption.


I reiterate my request made to you in parliament to take action against the company and the government officials involved. A strong message must be sent to the company and others like it who bribe and corrupt the willing Indian officials, thus circumventing the rules and procedures which govern the granting of licenses to foreign companies to sell or manufacture products in India.