Citizens' Issues
'Only seven firms can sell instant pastas, tests on all'
Following tests on some samples of Maggi, the watchdog on Friday had ordered the recall of all the nine variants of Maggi pan-India and had asked Nestle to halt its production and exports
 
Instant noodles and pastas with tastemakers of only seven companies are allowed to be sold in India, the food safety watchdog said on Monday, while also ordering tests on all approved variants and calling for the remaining "illegal" ones to be destroyed.
 
The seven companies that have approvals for their variants of instant noodles and pastas with tastemakers are: Ruchi International (Koka), CG Foods (Wai Wai), Glaxosmithkline (Foodles), Nestle (Maggi), AA Nutrition (Yummy), Indo Nisin (Top Ramen) and ITC (brand not specified).
 
"The safety of all other products in these categories has not been assessed as per the product approval procedures. As such, the same are unauthorised and illegal and cannot be intended for human consumption," said a letter from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
 
Ordering tests on all the approved varieties, the letter written by chief executive Yudhvir Singh Malik to all the commissioners of food safety said: "As regards all the remaining food products, you are advised to ensure such products are recalled, removed from the market and destroyed."
 
Speaking to IANS, the top food safety officer said tests on Nestle's Maggi and some other similar products had raised serious health concerns and that it was, accordingly, thought fit to conduct tests on all similar products for which approvals had been granted.
 
Following tests on some samples of Maggi, the watchdog on Friday had ordered the recall of all the nine variants of Maggi pan-India and had asked Nestle to halt its production and exports. It had also issued a similar order on Nestle's oats noodles and tastemaker.
 
While Nestle continued to contend that its noodles were safe for human and that the levels of lead were within permissible limits - as opposed to the findings of some tests that purportedly indicated otherwise - several states also became pro-active by issuing their own ban orders.
 
"Overseas and local manufacturers would be treated equally. More noodle brands including pasta and macaroni products will also start getting tested this week," Malik said. 
 
Asked if the brand ambassadors could be taken to task, he said: "As of now, we are not considering any action."
 
The regulator also detailed the process involved in the recall of food products.
 
"Ideally, consumers should be able to return the product at the retail outlet and get their money back if they have the bill with them. It is also Nestle's responsibility to let the consumers return their products, if they have kept the bill with them," he said.
 
The regulator also plans to post a list of all approved noodle products on its web site and advise the state authorities to test them. "We understand Delhi, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have already started testing other brands. We will list all the approved noodle products soon." 
 
He further said that Nestle had been asked to give the regulator an update on compliance first after three days and then regularly until the end. "Because we understand that it could take 10 days or more, we will be taking regular progress reports from the company."

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10 formally charged with murder of Mumbai journalist
A special court on Monday formally charged 10 people, including woman scribe Jigna Vora, for the murder of senior Mumbai journalist J. Dey four years ago.
 
The charges were framed under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), Indian Penal Code and other statutory provisions by Special MCOCA Judge A.L. Pansare.
 
After the charges - including the conspiracy to kill senior journalist Dey and having links with absconding mafia don Chhota Rajan - were read out to them by the court, all the accused pleaded not guilty.
 
Dey, investigations editor of Mumbai eveninger Mid-Day, was shot five times by two motorcycle-borne assailants near his home in suburban Powai on the morning of June 11, 2011. He was pronounced dead when rushed to a nearby hospital.
 
Vora, arrested in November 2011, was accused of allegedly passing on vital information on Dey's whereabouts, the registration number of his motorcycle and other details to the mafia don's henchmen.
 
Those charge-sheeted include bookie Vinod Asrani, Paulson Joseph, Deepak Sisodia, Satish Kalia, Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaekwad, Anil Waghmore, Nilesh Shendge and Mangesh Agawane. A separate charge-sheet was filed against Vora.
 
Bookie Asrani died recently due to illness, while Chhota Rajan and co-conspirator Narayan Bish are absconding.
 
According to investigators, Dey was killed as certain articles he wrote in the eveninger enraged Chhota Rajan, who ordered his elimination allegedly at the instigation of Vora.

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CBI arrests Shibu Soren's kin in horse-trading case
The CBI on Monday arrested JMM chief Shibu Soren's relative here for his alleged involvement in horse-trading in 2012 Rajya Sabha election from Jharkhand.
 
The CBI arrested Bad Narayan Majhi from his residence in Kedargouri area of Bhubaneswar, CBI sources said. 
 
The central investigating agency said Majhi was later presented before a Special CBI court here, which allowed the CBI to take him on a three-day transit remand. 
 
Majhi is the father of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) president Shibu Soren's daughter-in-law, Sita. 
 
In 2012, the CBI raided Majhi's house in connection with the case. 
 
In February 2014, a CBI court granted the probe agency permission to attach the properties of both Sita Soren as well as her father.
 
The Jharkhand High Court had granted conditional bail to Sita Soren in the case. 
 
According to sources, the CBI gathered evidence that Sita Soren allegedly received Rs 1.5 crore from R.K. Agarwal, the Independent candidate backed by the JMM. 
 
The Election Commission subsequently countermanded the election. 

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