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CB-CID ordered to probe 'death': Allegations against Coca-Cola

Issue: 1/31/06
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Newindpress.com

MADURAI: The CB-CID was directed by the Madurai Bench of the High Court on Monday to register a case in connection with the death of the president of Gangaikondan panchayat in Tirunelveli district.

The Bench issued this directive on a petition filed by Santhanamary, widow of Kamsan, who was president of the Gangaikondan panchayat.

In her petition, she stated that the Tamil Nadu Government had granted permission to the South India Bottling Company - a subsidiary of Hindustan Coca Cola Co to set up a plant in the SIPCOT complex in the panchayat.

The company had planned to tap 12 lakh litres of water from river Tamirabarani daily for bottling and marketing. Many NGOs and environmentalists had opposed this project.

Her husband Kamsan too had visited Plachimada in Kerala, where the company had a unit and was tapping water from a river in the area, and saw the havoc wrought by the project.

Therefore, the panchayat adopted a resolution demanding that the government withdraw the permission it granted to the Bottling Co.

Subsequently, the authorities of the multinational company invited her husband to come to a hotel in Tirunelveli on August 23 last over telephone. Kamsan, who went there, did not return for two days.

When the soft drink company was contacted over phone, they were told by a senior officer Lakshmipathy, that Kamsan was at Courtallam. The petitioner could not reach her husband even over his mobile phone.

Meanwhile, there were reports in newspapers on August 24, that her husband had supported the bottling plant project.

Subsequently, her husband was brought home in a serious physical condition. Kamsan said that he was down with jaundice and that the company authorities had forced him to drink liquor. They had also forced him to drop the panchayat resolution.

Kamsan was admitted to the Tirunelveli hospital where he died.

The petitioner said that she had made representations to the IG south zone, and district Superintendent of Police, but they failed to take any action. She prayed for a directive to inquire into her complaint.

When the petition came up for hearing before Justice P Murugesan, counsel T Lajapathi Roy and R Alagumani appeared for the petitioner.

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