CHENNAI

Madras High Court gags TN dairy minister

madras-hc (File) Madras High Court

In yet another embarrassment for the ruling AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court on Monday issued gag orders against a cabinet minister, asking him not to speak without any proof.

Tamil Nadu Dairy Development Minister, T. Rajendra Balaji, had alleged that the milk sold by private companies were adulterated and contained chemicals causing cancer.

The Madras High Court ordered the minister not to make allegations against private companies without substantial evidence. Hearing a civil suit filed by three private milk companies—Hatsun Agro Product Ltd, Dodla Dairy Ltd and Vijay Dairy—against the minister for making allegations without evidence, Justice C.V. Karthikeyan on Monday asked the minister to file his response in a week’s time.

In their petition filed before the Madras High Court, the three companies had stated that his allegations caused damage to their companies and demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore each. Hearing the petition, Justice Karthikeyan asked how a minister could speak without any evidence and asked him to file his response in a week’s time. The case has been adjourned to July 27.

It was on May 24 that the minister came out with a strong allegation against the private milk producers. In a open press conference, Balaji had made serious allegations, saying that the private milk producers sold adulterated milk which caused cancer in children. "They sell the milk that is banned in Kerala. According to my investigation, the milk they sell is adulterated and they use preservatives to ensure that the milk doesn’t get spoiled. They turn curd back into milk using chemicals," he alleged.

He even went to the extent of creating panic among the public by stating that the investigation reports with him showed the use of formaldehyde, caustic soda and bleaching powder in the milk sold by private companies.

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