Dow has been strenuously lobbying Indian officials while holding out the lure of large-scale investments — if it's let off the liability hook. Between 2005 and 2007, numerous influential people pleaded on its behalf, including Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, finance minister P. Chidambaram and commerce minister Kamal Nath, besides top-notch US-India Business Council office-bearers such as Ratan Tata and Dow chief Andrew N. Liveris.
Dow has been illegally selling Carbide's technologies in India through front companies such as Mega Vista Marketing Solutions and Mega Vista Global Services — in defiance of a 1992 court order, which directs the government to confiscate all of Carbide's assets in India because Carbide is a proclaimed absconder from Indian law. Dow stands implicated in a series of legal infringements and violations of due process, including misrepresentation and attempts to bribe agriculture ministry officials to register pesticides.
In 1989, Carbide escaped civil liability for the faulty plant design and gross negligence, which caused the accident, by paying a paltry $470 million in a collusive and grossly unjust settlement. But its criminal liability still survives.
However, Carbide and its directors have refused to stand trial in a Bhopal criminal court. Meanwhile, Dow has been sheltering these fugitives from the law and selling Carbide's products, technologies and services in India.
Dow's offer confronts the government with a critical choice. Either it cuts a deal with this multinational in a mercenary fashion; or it sides with the survivors.