Maruti violence, death case: 31 convicted, 117 acquitted

Free at last: Workers celebrate after their acquittal in the Maruti Suzuki factory violence case on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Pronouncing its judgment in the high-profile Maruti violence case following unrest in the company’s Manesar plant, which resulted in the death of Human Resources manager Awanish Kumar Dev, in 2012, a local court on Friday convicted 31 of the 148 accused workers and acquitted 117 others.

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.

The verdict comes more than four years after Dev was killed and around 90 executives were injured during violence at the plant on July 18, 2012.

Reading out the 508-page judgment to the crowded courtroom, additional district and sessions judge R.P. Goyal said 31 of the accused were found guilty under various charges and the remaining 117 were being acquitted. While 13 were convicted of murder, attempt to murder, destruction of evidence, mischief by fire and criminal conspiracy, among other charges, the other 18 were held guilty of voluntarily causing hurt, tresspass, unlawful assembly and wrongful restraint.

Maruti workers acquitted in the case celebrate outside the Gurugram District Court on Friday.

Maruti workers acquitted in the case celebrate outside the Gurugram District Court on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena


In police custody

All the 31 accused were taken into police custody after the verdict. Sixty-six workers are absconding in the case. The court has fixed March 17 to decide on the quantum of sentence.

Defence counsel and senior advocate Vrinda Grover said the fact that 117 workers were acquitted by the court unequivocally demolished the foundation of the prosecution case. “Eighteen workers have been convicted only for grievous hurt and trespass, and 13 workers have been convicted of murder,” she said.

“What is important to understand is that these 13 are the office bearers of the union. They have been implicated and management witnesses have deposed against them because they stand for rights of workers,” said Ms. Grover, appearing for the defence.

Defence counsel Monu Kuhar said Ms. Grover, who was appearing pro bono in the case along with senior advocates Rebecca John and R.S. Cheema, had lent strength to the legal fight of the workers.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, who represented Maruti company, said 31 convictions was a huge number for a riots case and the stand of the Maruti company was vindicated with the judgment. Saying that the decision on appeal in the higher court would be taken after reading the full judgement, Mr. Pahwa said a large number of accused were acquitted as they had changed their appearance and could not be identified.

To prevent untoward incidents, the district administration has invoked Section 144 near the Maruti plants and the district court till March 15.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 10:20:17 PM |

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