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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Court discharges Dow as CBI fails to attach proof

Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 11, 2014
First Published: 09:13 IST(11/5/2014) | Last Updated: 13:42 IST(11/5/2014)

As the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not attach evidence with the supplementary chargesheet against De-Nocil Crop Protection (presently Dow Agro Sciences India, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical of the US) and Agro Pack, the CBI special court, Haryana, at Panchkula, has discharged the companies in a case of bribing an Indian official to get their products registered.


On December 30, 2011, the CBI had filed the supplementary charge sheet but attached no oral or documentary evidence.

On Wednesday (May 7), special judge, CBI, Haryana, Rakesh Yadav ruled that being not supported by evidence, the supplementary chargesheet was “bad in law” and so the court could not take cognizance of it.

The accused companies no longer have to face trial. The Delhi branch of the CBI had started investigation after the US report on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Anticorruption Enforcement was out.

THE CHARGES
The CBI alleges that Dr Ratan Lal Rajak, the-then plant protection adviser in the agriculture ministry, while functioning as member of Central Insecticides Board (CIB) and Registration Committee (RC), received illegal gratification to the tune of $32,000 (Rs 19.19 lakh) from De-Nocil Crop Protection “for expediting registration of the products (agricultural chemicals ) Nurella D, Pride and Dursban 10g during the period 1996 to 2001”.

The supplementary chargesheet says: “Product formulators Agro Pack and Crop Health Products facilitated the payment of illegal gratification by accumulating funds in their books by loading bogus incidental charges in their bills to the company.

They raises false invoice on the company for capital goods by mutual agreement with it with the approval of the managing director.”

Besides cash, gifts, including jewellery and travel-and-hotel expenses, were paid allegedly to Dr Rajak. The CBI says the company committed offences under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI registered the case on August 16, 2007, and charges against Dr Rajak and Satyabroto Banerji were framed on May 30, 2011. Banerji died later.

He allegedly was the conduit between the company and Dr Rajak. The company had wanted expeditious registration of their products before a particular crop season.

BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY LINK

Dow Chemical acquired Union Carbide Corporation, the company responsible for the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984, biggest industrial accident ever. This March, the chief judicial magistrate in Bhopal issued a notice to Dow to appear before the court on July 4 to present its stand on the disaster. The summons was based on the application of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, a nongovernment organisation working for the gas-affected people.

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