Much before the violence at Manesar last Wednesday that resulted in the tragic death of Maruti Suzuki’s human relations (HR) executive Awanish Kumar Dev, two incidents of murder of company officials by workers shocked the nation — at the Pricol factory in Coimbatore in 2009, and at Graziano Trasmissioni, Greater Noida, in 2008.
In both instances, the matter is still being heard in the courts and the accused are at large.
At Pricol, workers attacked HR executive Roy George, who hit him repeatedly on the head. George succumbed to the injuries. Three years on, the case against 12 workers is on, but they are all out on bail.
“The case is still pending and the accused are all out on bail," said BV Prasad, vice president and head, HR and industrial relations, Pricol Ltd. “None of these workers are with us anymore. Pending issues with the union was resolved last month in a tripartite agreement including the labour commissioner.”
One of the issues at Pricol is a common one — of recognising the workers’ union. Reports suggested that some workers had been sacked in the run-up to the flareup, but Prasad insisted that was not the case.
“There was no termination. A few workers were being transferred to newer locations where additional factories were coming up,” he said.
In the case of Lalit Kishore Choudhary, the CEO of Graziano Trasmissioni, similarities with Maruti is uncanny. Choudhary was killed at his own factory gate in Greater Noida in 2008. He was the only casualty in the rampage that left 50 workers injured. The mob consisted of 200 workers who had been sacked earlier.
This time around 78 people were chargesheeted, and all of them are out on bail. There has been no conviction. The company did not respond despite repeated attempts, and a questionnaire went unanswered.
As Prasad of Pricol put it, “The company has moved on but the law would take its own course.” A tortuous course indeed.