Published: Sat, March 11, 2017
Health Care | By Kelly Miles

Maruti factory violence case: 31 convicted, 117 acquitted

Maruti factory violence case: 31 convicted, 117 acquitted

A sessions court here on Friday convicted 31 former workers of Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant near Gurugram in 2012 but acquitted 117 others for lack of evidence. Rajender Pathak, counsel of the accused workers, said that they would challenge the conviction in the Punjab and Haryana high court.

Human Resources Manager Awanish Kumar Dev was burned to death in the violence in the plant of the countrys largest vehicle manufacturer. Dev's wife Suparna is a deputy director in the defence ministry in New Delhi.

The workers' union had accused Maruti of "anti-worker and anti-union activities". The remaining 18 were held guilty for voluntarily causing hurt, unlawful assembly and wrongful restraint among others. The district court will issue sentences to the convicted on 17 March 2017.

The 2012 flare-up marked a dark chapter in the spectacular story of Maruti.

An impression had gained ground that the company was looking at Gujarat with keener interest. The union wanted the worker to be reinstated and the salary of contract workers brought on a par with that of permanent employees. The court let off 117 people in the similar case. "The stand of Maruti is vindicated. They have been implicated in the case and management witnesses have deposed against them because they stand for rights of workers".

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The factory workers allegedly had set fire to the plant after getting into an argument with the management. His charred body was identified by a tooth implant. The police had said Dev was an asthma patient and became unconscious after inhaling smoke and got trapped in the fire.

In the aftermath of the violence, about 150 workers were arrested for alleged criminal conspiracy and murder, and the factory was shut for a month, according to media reports.

"It was a historic judgment as for the first time so many people have been convicted of mob violence". Two Japanese executives had suffered "minor" injuries.

A day after the violence erupted in July the body of Avnish Kumar, the human resources manager, was found badly charred in a conference room.

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