Jatropha germplasm investigation nears completion

Investigation into jatropha germplasm nears completion

By Rajendra Mohanty
Published: Saturday 15 July 2006

as the investigation into the alleged theft of Jatropha carcus germplasm nears completion, Sunil Puri, the prime accused in the case, who had joined the uk- based d 1 Oils as a technical director in Coimbatore, has gone on leave.

Puri was formerly heading the forest department of the Indira Gandhi Agriculture University, Raipur, and joined d 1 Oils in December 2005. However, soon after he quit the university, 18 local varieties of jatropha were found missing.

The matter has since been under investigation by the National Bio-Diversity Authority, as the state government had sought its expert opinion on the issue. The state government also constituted a high-level committee headed by the principal secretary of the state and the agriculture production commissioner .

Another committee constituted by the vice chancellor of the university, A R R S Shastri, and the Chhattisgarh police too were investigating the matter. As of now, except the agriculture production commissioner , all have submitted their reports .

While the investigation is nearing completion, the member secretary of Chhattisgarh Biodiversity Board and additional chief conservator of forests Ram Prakash says, "It's certainly a matter of theft, as transferring bio-resources to a foreign company without informing the government is against the provisions of the Biodiversity Act."

Nikhil Khanna, spokesperson of d 1 Oils, clarifies that Puri is no longer on the payroll of the company. "Puri's contract has not been terminated, but his contract is suspended until the matter is resolved," Khanna adds.

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