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The Gurgaon court on Thursday framed charges against the 147 Maruti Suzuki India workers arrested for engaging in large-scale violence in Maruti’s Manesar plant in July last year.
Judge SK Khanduja presiding over the hearing framed 12 workers of direct substantive murder, 35 workers of substantive attempt to murder and 100 others accused for aiding members of unlawful assembly, attempt to murder, arsoning and rioting. The accused men were charged under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 148 (rioting), 149 (guilty of unlawful assembly), 442 (criminal house trespassing) and 325 (Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code.
On July 18 last year, Maruti’s Manesar plant was hit by violence as workers at one of its auto factories allegedly started a fire in the company premises that killed the company manager Awanish Kumar Dev and injured many employees. The incident was reported as the worst-ever for Suzuki since it began operations in India in 1983.
The order issued by the court of Judge Khanduja read, “The presence of overwhelming material collected during the investigation connects the accused with the commission of the aforesaid offences.”
According to KTS Tulsi, Special Public Prosecutor, “The detailed framing of charges debate between the prosecution and defence was held two weeks back and on August 5 the Judge had held my submission and said that their was an overwhelming prima facie evidence that showed the large-scale violence at the Manesar plant that led to a manager being charred to death.”
Defense lawyer Rajendra Pathak representing the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union maintained that the charges leveled by the prosecution were false and that there was no evidence to prove that the employees carried out the attack in a pre-meditated manner.
“We were expecting that the people who were not directly involved would be given bail. We will challenge the order in the Punjab and Haryana High Court through Section 397 CrPC, criminal revision. All 147 workers have pleaded not guilty and the trial will begin from September 9,” said Pathak.