Court convicts 31 in Maruti violence case, 13 for murder

10 March 2017

A court has convicted 31 employees of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), 13 of them charges of murder, for the violence at the company's Maneser plant in August 2012.

Additional District and Sessions Judge R K Goyal, however, acquitted 117 MSIL employees of a total 148 arrested and charged with the murder of senior HR officer Awanish Kumar Dev.

The court sentenced 13 employees, holding top posts in MSIL workers' union, on charges of murder and attempt to murder besides rioting and other related offences.

The other 18 were convicted on charges of rioting, trespassing, causing hurt and other related offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Reading out the 508-page judgment, Additional District and Sessions Judge RP Goyal said 13 of the accused, including the former union members, were found guilty of murder, attempt to murder, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy. The remaining 18 were held guilty for voluntarily causing hurt, unlawful assembly and wrongful restraint among others. All 31 accused were taken into police custody after the pronouncement of the judgement.

The quantum of sentence will be announced on 17 March.

The violence on 18 August 2012 broke out over wage issues when a group of employees allegedly torched a section of MSIL facility which claimed the life of Dev, a resident of South Delhi's Malviya Nagar.

A total of 148 workers were arrested and charged with the murder of Dev, a resident of South Delhi's Malviya Nagar. More than 100 other employees, including some foreign nationals, suffered injuries.

The district administration imposed section 144 of CrPC near the civil court and Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar, prohibiting gathering of more than five people. Assembly of more than five people has also been prohibited in the 500 metres radius of MSIL plant and Gurgaon court.

Defence counsel Vrinda Grover said the fact that 117 workers were acquitted by the court demolished the foundation of the case and the theory of unlawful assembly. "Only 13 have been convicted for murder and these include former office-bearers. The judgment proves that they are being targeted and stand a good chance in High Court," she said.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa on the Maruti counsel, on the other hand, said that 31 convictions was a huge number for a riots case. He said that the stand of the Maruti company was vindicated with the judgment and the decision had proved that the workers had no right to take the law in their hands.

He said that he would read the full judgement before deciding whether to go for further appeal or not.


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