Agriculture ministry issues notices to Dow’s Indian unit

NEW DELHI: The Agriculture Ministry has asked Dow Chemicals’ Indian subsidiary to explain why the registration certificates granted to four chemicals produced by it should not be cancelled. This is a follow-up to the government’s decision to blacklist Dow Agro Sciences India for five years, for bribing government officials to fast-track the process of registering three pesticides.

The show-cause notices were issued by the department of agriculture and cooperation on Wednesday, with the company given 15 days to file its reply.

Dow Agro Sciences India Pvt Ltd., Mumbai (formerly known as De-Nocil Crop Protection Ltd), is hereby required to show cause within 15 days of receipt of this notice why the Certificates of Registration issued to the company under section 9(3) of the Insecticides Act, 1968, for the above mentioned products (Acetamiprid Technical-Pride, Acetampirid 20% SP Formulation, Chlorpyriphos 10 Granules (Dursban 10G) and Nurelle/Nurelle D/Nurelle D-505) should not be cancelled by the central Government in exercise of powers under section 27(2) of the Insecticides Act, 1968,” the notice said.

A senior company official, when contacted, declined to comment, saying that they had not yet received the show-cause notice. “We have not received show-cause notice or any other communication from the Ministry of Agriculture. Hence it may not be possible to comment,” Vice-President (Corporate Affairs) Rakesh Chitkara said.

The show-cause notice give a brief background of the case, and then proceeds to highlight the factors which prompted the ministry to go in for such a step.

The ministry had on September 16 last year blacklisted Dow Agro Sciences for five years for bribing government officials to expedite registration of three pesticides in the country. The bribery case had earlier been investigated by the CBI, which had then forwarded the outcome of its probe to the ministry for necessary action. CBI, after undertaking a thorough probe in the case, held the Mumbai-based Indian arm of Dow Chemicals guilty of bribing a senior Government employee and his aides, and had recommended that the firm be blacklisted for pursuing corrupt practices.

Taking cognisance of the CBI recommendation, the ministry had on June 22 last year served a notice on the company asking it to show-cause as to why it should not be blacklisted for indulging in unethical practices. The three pesticides were identified as Dursban 10G, Nurelle-D and Pride.

The details of the bribes paid by Dow Agro Sciences have been mentioned in the chargesheet filed by CBI in the case. The charge sheet was filed on the basis of information furnished by the US authorities to the Indian Government in response to a letter rogatory, a formal request from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance.

“An investigation conducted by the CBI has established that Dow Agro Sciences paid illegal gratification and extended pecuniary advantages for expediting registration of its products Acetamiprid Technical (Pride) and its 20% SP Formulations, Chlorpyriphos 50% + Cypermethrin 5% EC (Nurelle) and Chlorpyriphos 10% Granules (Dursban 10G) under the Insecticides Act, 1968,” the show-cause notice issued by the ministry on Wednesday said.

“Agro Pack, a product formulator of the company facilitated the payment of illegal gratification by accumulating funds in their books by loading bogus incidental charges in their bills placed on De-Nocil and raised fund for bribing the officials of the Registration Committee by mutual agreement with the company with the approval of the managing director. A charge sheet has been filed in the court of Secial Judge, at Ambala by the CBI against RL Rajak, former Plant Protection Adviser to the government of India and Satybro to Banerjee, consultant appointed by De-Nocil under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the court had taken cognisance of the offences,” the notice added.

The CBI had also informed that investigation against Kevin Eden, the then managing director of De-Nocil, is continuing.

Source: The Economic Times

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