In­dia seeks $100 mil­lion in dam­ages from Nes­tle


In­dia's gov­ern­ment is seek­ing dam­ages of nearly $100 mil­lion from Nes­tle for "un­fair trade prac­tices" af­ter the food safety watchdog banned its hugely pop­u­lar Maggi noo­dles brand.

The gov­ern­ment said Wed­nes­day it has filed a suit with the coun­try's top con­sumer court for 6,400 mil­lion ru­pees ($98.6 mil­lion) in dam­ages from the In­dian arm of the Swiss food gi­ant.

In­dia's food safety watchdog in June banned Nes­tle from mak­ing or selling noo­dles in the coun­try af­ter tests by some states found lead lev­els ex­ceeded statu­tory lim­its. Nes­tle has with­drawn the prod­uct in In­dia but con­tin­ues to sell it else­where, and has al­ways de­nied the charge.

"We filed the com­plaint with the Na­tional Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion (NCDRC) yesterday and have sought around 6,400 mil­lion ru­pees in dam­ages," G, Gur­cha­ran, Ad­di­tional Sec­re­tary at the Min­istry of Con­sumer Af­fairs, told AFP. "Our com­plaint is over their un­fair trade prac­tices and the court will now is­sue them no­tices to hear their re­sponse," Gur­cha­ran added. A Nes­tle In­dia spokesman said the com­pany had not yet re­ceived of­fi­cial no­tice about the com­plaint with the NCDRC, a semi-ju­di­cial body that has the power to fine com­pa­nies.

"We shall be able to pro­vide sub­stan­tive re­sponse af­ter we re­ceive the of­fi­cial pa­pers," said Hi­man­shu Man­g­lik. Nes­tle In­dia is chal­leng­ing the ban on Maggi noo­dles in the Mum­bai high court. It had been selling the brand for over three decades in In­dia, and had 80 per­cent of the coun­try's in­stant noo­dle mar­ket be­fore the ban. Sev­eral celebri­ties have en­dorsed Maggi over the years, in­clud­ing Bol­ly­wood su­per­star Amitabh Bachchan.

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