The CBI has filed a petition before the CBI special court, Haryana for trying De-Nocil Crop Protection Ltd, now known as Dow Agro Sciences India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, USA, for bribing an Indian official through the proprietors/directors of the company to get its products registered.
The court is yet to frame charges against the company.
Dow Chemical, which had acquired the Union Carbide Corporation, was responsible for the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, the biggest industrial disaster in the country.
As per the CBI, Dr Ratan Lal Rajak, the then plant protection adviser with the agriculture ministry, while functioning as member of the Central Insecticides Board and the registration committee, had accepted illegal gratification to the tune of US $32,000 from De-Nocil Crop Protection Ltd "for expediting registration of the products, including Nurella D, Pride and Dursban 10g, during the period 1996-2001".
"The product formulators of the company, M/s Agro Pack and M/s Crop Health Products Ltd, facilitated the payment of illegal gratification by accumulating funds in their books by loading bogus "incidental charges" in their bills to the company and raising false invoice of the company for capital goods by mutual agreement with the company with the approval of the managing director," the CBI has claimed.
In addition to cash and gifts, including jewellery, travel and hotel expenses were allegedly paid to Dr Rajak.
The CBI says the company committed offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI had registered the case on August 16, 2007, and charges against Dr Rajak and Satyabroto Banerji, consultant of the company, had been framed on May 30, 2011. Banerji, who is now no more, allegedly played the role of a conduit between the company and Dr Rajak. The company wanted expeditious registration of their products before a particular crop season.
British MD elusive
As per the chargesheet, Kevin Eden, the then managing director of De-Nocil Crop Protection Ltd, a resident of London, could not be examined during the course of investigation. The CBI has not been able to trace him so far. His signature was found on a cash voucher for purchase of a gold chain that was received by Dr Rajak as corporate gift.