Union Carbide continues to operate in India

New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Though it broke and defied the law of the land, the US multinational Union Carbide Corporation continues to do business in India, though by proxy after its takeover by Dow Chemicals Limited. Dow too faces a probe into the allegation of bribing government officials.

Even as the Bhopal trial court declared Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson a fugitive and a proclaimed offender after Indian government failed to extradite him to face trial for his criminal liability in causing the world’s worst industrial disaster in Bhopal, the firm sold one of its patent technology to a Gujarat based gas refinery and continues earning royalty for its technology, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials said.

After Dow Chemicals expressed its intention to take over Union Carbide, the Bhopal gas tragedy victims sent it a legal notice warning it that it would also be inheriting the criminal liability of the US multinational, said social activist Satinath Sarangi.

Dow Chemicals, however, ignored the warning, he added.

Dow Chemicals took over Union Carbide in February 2001, after which the Bhopal gas victims moved the city’s chief judicial magistrate’s court for trying it for sheltering Anderson, ‘a fugitive from justice’, a CBI official said.

On Bhopal gas tragedy victims’ plea, the court did issue summons to Dow Chemicals in January 2005, but the firm challenged the summons before the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, and got the summons suspended as the CBI refused to oppose Dow’s pleas.

The investigative agency did not challenge the high court’s order suspending the summons against Dow Chemicals, said CBI sources.

Sarangi said that Dow Chemicals is also facing a CBI probe into the allegations that it paid bribes amounting to $200,000 to officials of the Central Insecticide Registration Board and its parent ministry (agriculture) for clearance for the sale in India of its three insecticides and pesticides, banned in the US.

This is an admitted fact as the American Security and Exchange Commission had imposed a penalty of $350,000 million on it for bribing Indian officials and the firm had paid the fine to US corporate regulator without a protest, Sarangi added.

CBI sources admitted that the agency has raided six or seven official premises of Dow Chemicals in various cities to probe the allegations of bribery, but no tangible result has come out of it as yet.

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