Hashish haul puts Dabur under fresh fire in Nepal

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : Indian multinational Dabur India’s wholly-owned subsidiary Dabur Nepal is under fresh fire following the seizure of contraband hashish from an Indian truck laden with Dabur Nepal’s Real brand of fruit juice meant for export to India.

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Nepal’s ruling Maoist party has seized upon the incident to begin a campaign against the exporter.

“Dabur Nepal involved in the smuggling of hashish,” the Maoist-affiliated Janadisha daily said Wednesday in a front-page report.

The state-run Nepal Television channel headed by Maoist Minister for Information and Communications Krishna Bahadur Mahara was the first to report the incident Tuesday night.

The private media, which receives heavy advertisement support from Dabur Nepal, has however remained silent on the incident.

The government’s official daily, the Dainik Gorkhapatra, Wednesday said the discovery of the contraband drug stashed inside cartons of Real juices meant for export “also puts Dabur Nepal under suspicion, according to police”.

The police made the seizure late Monday night following a tipoff.

A special police task force caught the truck bearing the Indian number plate HR 38 S 5325 near Birgunj town on the Indo-Nepal border.

The truck had completed all customs formalities and was heading for New Delhi via Ghaziabad.

Searches revealed about one to two quintals of hashish hidden among the cartons of juice. The driver, Hari Singh, a resident of Ghaziabad, and the owner Satyapal Singh, were arrested.

According to the statement given by Hari Singh, this is the second time he had attempted to smuggle hashish to India.

Dabur Nepal authorities declined to speak on the reported incident.
Unofficially, the management says that since the truck was not owned by Dabur Nepal, it cannot be held accountable.

However, with Dabur Nepal being Nepal’s largest exporter, the apparent negligence to pay attention to transportation details is going to cost it dear.

The subsidiary is just recovering from a long closure of its factory by workers demanding higher bonus with the Nepal government ignoring its plea to declare the strike illegal.

Maoists have also stopped Nepal’s oldest beauty pageant that is sponsored by Dabur Nepal to promote its Dabur Vatika brand of cosmetics, asking the pageant organisers to look for a different sponsor.