A Gurgaon court today convicted 31 employees of Maruti-Suzuki India Limited, including 13 of murder, in connection with the violence at the automobile giant's Manesar plant in Haryana in 2012 in which a senior officer had been burnt alive.
The legal battle, which lasted over four-and-a-half years, started after a riot broke out at the Maruti unit on the evening of July 18, leaving the plant's General Manager (Human Resources) Awanish Kumar Dev dead.
Thirteen of those convicted, including 12 former office-bearers of the workers' union, were held guilty of murder, attempt to murder, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy.
Maruti shut down its Manesar plant for a month after the violence. The police took 22 accused into custody after the verdict was announced in the court of additional district and sessions judge R.P. Goyal on Friday amid heavy police presence.
Out of 148 accused, 13 people have been convicted for murder and 18 were charged with rioting.
"All I know is 117 people have been acquitted of all charges". Mr Pathak pointed out that the contention of the prosecution that the murder was planned has been set aside. In his 508 pages long order, the court found that the 90 workers had no links with the violence.
In the run-up to the violence, the workers' union and the Maruti Suzuki management had been at loggerheads over the latter's decision to initiate disciplinary action against one worker. Khushi Ram is one of the 550 employees who were terminated from service after the incident.
"Armed with iron rods, the mob spread out in groups across the plant area targeting the supervisors, managers and executives", Maruti said in a statement.
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