The defunct 68.14-hectare SPIC Petrochemicals Limited on Kossapur Main Road in Manali of north Chennai has become goons’ paradise in the recent times as a 30-member gang attacked the security personnel there with sickles, knives and iron rods and looted steel, copper and aluminium rolls and other scrap materials worth lakhs of rupees on Sunday morning.

This incident is the fifth in less than six months as repeated attempts by law enforcement agencies have failed to curb the menace in the unit.

The SPIC Petro was promoted by SPIC in 1994 to implement a project to manufacture purified terapthalic acid (PTA) and polyester fibre yarn at the unit in Manali. However, owing to dues amounting to Rs. 4,077 crore by SPIC to various creditors, the unit is currently under the control of the Mumbai-based Asset Reconstruction Company (India ) Ltd (ARCIL) and Stressed Assets Stabilisation Fund (SASF) to recover the amount .

Closed since 2009

The unit remains closed since December 1, 2009. As part of security to guard the hypothecated movable assets at the unit, ARCIL appointed a private security agency, Chennai SSS Security and Detective Agency, which is in-charge of security of the unit since 2010.

Armed with sickles and iron rods, the gang entered the unit from its rear end at 11.30 p.m on Saturday and attacked nearly a dozen security men, who are mainly from Orissa, West Bengal and Assam, and were having food. Unarmed security men had nothing to defend themselves. Many ran away and hid themselves in bushes for nearly five hours as the gang was plundering the unit by loading the scrap on a row of vehicles parked on the other side of the compound wall of the unit. As the unit did not have electricity, darkness helped the gang. After nearly five hours, the gang left the premises and a few security men found their way to the main entrance of the unit and alerted senior security officials and the police.

The seriously injured, including Pradeep Kumar Misra and Laipung, were admitted at the Government Stanley Hospital on Sunday morning.

“I was repeatedly attacked by a member of the gang, who spoke Tamil, as I tried to run away from the place. After the incident, we are scared and want to go home because at least we can be alive there than die here for money,” said 39-year-old Misra, a migrant from Orissa.

During a search operation inside the unit, police recovered a mobile phone of one of the members of the gang and phone calls from it are being traced.

In the previous such incidents at the unit, police had made little headway.