Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Mathrubhumi wins suit against Coca Cola

A sub court in Kochi has dismissed a suit filed by Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Ltd, Palakkad, seeking Rs 50 lakh damages from Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi for publishing a news report against it.

Coca Cola had alleged in the suit, filed before the Ernakulam sub court, that the newspaper had carried a report on December 21, 2003, stating that its soft drink contained toxic materials, including insecticides, which was damaging to the company.

The company had stated that most of the imputations made by Mathrubhumi were 'baseless' and were a 'calculated' move to curb the sale of the soft drink. The news item contained a message that people should abandon Coca Cola and switch over to tender coconut, the soft drink major alleged.

Justifying their stand, the newspaper filed a detailed reply refuting all the allegations.

It submitted that the said news report was published in public interest and was based on scientific reports, findings of the Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment and the Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by Sharad Pawar, which looked into the Coca Cola affair.

The suit was dismissed by sub judge Ragini on Monday after the counsel for Coca Cola failed to turn up.