A local court in Gurgaon sentenced 13 people to life imprisonment on Saturday in connection with the murder of a Maruti Suzuki manager, who was killed after violence and rioting at India’s largest carmaker’s plant in Manesar in 2012.
The court of additional district and sessions judge RP Goyal heard arguments from the prosecution and the defence on Friday and reserved the sentencing for Saturday.
Four other accused were given 5-year imprisonment and most of them have already served about 4 years in the jail. Fourteen more accused of rioting would be fined and released.
The accused held guilty for murder and related charges include Ram Mehar, Sandeep Dhillon, Ramvilas, Sarabjit Singh, Pavan Kumar, Sohan Kumar, Pradip Kumar, Ajmer Singh, Jia Lal, Amarjeet Kapoor, Dhanraj Bhambi, Yogesh Kumar and Pradeep Gujjar.
They have been held guilty for under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 436 (rioting), 427 (destruction of property), and 325 (mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Eighteen others were convicted under various sections for voluntary causing hurt (323), destruction of property (427), rioting (147 IPC) and rioting armed with deadly weapons (148 IPC) and other sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The defence lawyers said they would challenge the sentence in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Thirty-one workers were convicted and 117 acquitted on March 10. Thirteen accused were held guilty of murder whereas 18 were convicted of rioting and other crimes under various sections of the IPC.
Awanish Kumar Dev, general manager (human resources) of Maruti Suzuki, was burned to death and several executives injured in the violence in the car plant, 20 km from Gurgaon city, allegedly triggered by workers on July 18, 2012.
Violence ensued after a tussle between workers and the management over various demands including registration of a trade union at the Manesar plant.
Police had arrested 148 workers in connection with the murder, whereas 62 others could not be arrested and have been declared proclaimed offenders.
The prosecution had demanded capital punishment for the accused citing it to be a rarest of the rare cases.
“The victim Awanish Kumar Dev was beaten brutally and he could not escape from the fire because of the injuries inflicted by the accused,” district attorney Lal Singh said.
Defence lawyers Rebecca John and Vrinda Grover asked for the release of 18 accused and opposed death sentence for the 13 murder accused.