From left to right: Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta. Image Credit: Agencies

Muzaffarpur/Chandigarh: A Bihar court on Tuesday directed police to register an FIR (First Information Report) against two Nestle officials and film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta, who have featured in advertisements for Maggi noodles that is being probed, and arrest them if required.

The order came even as the government of the north Indian state of Haryana of ordered lifting of Maggi noodle samples from across the state to be sent for laboratory testing.

The probe into alleged lapses of food safety standards has already been expanded to test the noodle samples from across the country. However, Nestle India claimed it has got samples tested in an external laboratory as well as in-house and that the product was found “safe to eat”.

In Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Ramchandra Prasad directed Kazi Mohammadpur Police Station to register the FIR against the two Nestle officials and the three stars and investigate the complaint.

The court also directed the police to effect an arrest if required during the course of investigation. The order came during the hearing of a case filed by lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha.

The petition had named Managing Director of Nestle Mohan Gupta, its Joint Director Sabab Alam and Bachchan, Dixit and Zinta, who have featured in Maggi ads at different times.

While Bachchan said he no more endorses the brand, Dixit recently met Nestle officials in this regard and said the company has assured her about the quality of the product. The complainant claimed he purchased Maggi noodles from a shop at Lenin chowk of Muzaffarpur on May 30 and that he was taken ill after he ate it. This prompted him to file a case against Nestle, the maker of the noodles and the film stars.

The case has been filed under IPC sections 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 273 (sale of noxious food or drink), 276 (sale of drug as a different drug or preparation) and 420 (cheating and dishonesty).

“We have taken cognisance of reports of alleged lapses of food safety standards in Maggi noodles. I have ordered my Department to lift samples of these noodles from across the State for laboratory testing,” Haryana’s Health Minister Anil Vij told PTI in Chandigarh.

Vij said he has asked the State’s Director General of Health Services to direct all Chief Medical Officers in the State to depute staff to lift the samples from every district.

“The samples will be lifted randomly from the districts,” Vij said.

When asked where these samples will be subjected to tests, Vij said, “we have good laboratories in our state. Moreover, if the need arises, we can also get the samples tested from reputed laboratories outside the state as well”.

He further said that if lapses in food safety standards are found after the tests, the state government will take strict action.

“In that case, we will ask for withdrawal of all stocks of Maggi noodles from the State,” he added.