Pawar promises action against Dow Chemicals


New Delhi : Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Friday promised action against Dow Chemicals, which has taken over Union Carbide and produces insecticides in India, after probing reports that it had secured registration and approval of their products after bribing Indian officials.

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Pawar was replying to a question by Bharatiya Janata Party MP (BJP) S.S. Ahluwalia in the Rajya Sabha regarding Dow Chemicals’ reported confessions to the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

The minister said he was aware of the reports. “This incident took place in 1996-2001. Preliminary inquiries showed that one senior officer of the Central Insecticides Board (CIB) and some officers of the state were involved. We ordered a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) inquiry into this.”

He said that the Bhopal gas issue – poisonous gas from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal leaked out on the night of Dec 2-3 1984 killing thousands – was not related to his ministry.

“They developed three molecular products and submitted (for approval). After the US information, we asked them the truth. They told us `We bribed one officer of CIB who retired in 2001 and some pesticides control inspectors of the state’.”

He added that the government had asked “the concerned authorities” to look into the application for three molecular clearances and to re-examine the product and to withdraw the clearance if proper standards are not met.

At this stage, an incensed Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) got up to say: “They are trying to register a product here that is banned in other countries because of the adverse influence on children.”

She asked pointedly whether the company would be blacklisted or not. To which Pawar replied: “After investigations, definitely action will be taken against the company.”