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Court in northern India sentences 13 convicts to life in Maruti Suzuki factory riot case

STORY: A local court in Gurugram city of India’s northern Haryana state sentenced 13 persons to life imprisonment on Saturday (March 18) for their role in the deadly riot and murder of a manager of carmaker Maruti Suzuki at one of its factories in the state.

India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki, stopped production in 2012 at one of its factories in Manesar area of Gurugram after workers attacked managers at the plant and set fire to company property.

The mob tore through the plant, smashing property and burning parts of the facility beyond repair.

Human resources manager, Awanish Kumar Dev, was burned to death during the riot.

The court heard arguments in the case on Friday (March 17) and had reserved the sentencing for Saturday.

“These first 13 accused who are convicted under Sections 302, 307, 436, 323,423, 120(B), 325. They all have been given life imprisonment, along with it (life imprisonment), they are charged with in-default fine for INR 5,000 ($76.36), and four months of extended imprisonment; if they do not pay INR 5,000 ($76.36), they have to go to prison for (additional) four months,” said prosecution lawyer, Anurag Hooda.

The persons held guilty for murder and attempt to murder include, Ram Mehair, Sandeep Dhillon, Ramvilas, Sarabjit Singh, Pavan Kumar, Sohan Kumar, Pradeep Kumar, Ajmer Singh, Jia Lal, Suresh Kumar, Amarjeet, Dhanraj Bhambi, and Yogesh Kumar.

At least 20 to 40 managers and executives were hospitalised with injuries, Maruti had said after the riot, which erupted following a disciplinary incident against one employee.

Hooda added that four others were given five-year prison terms but most of them have already served nearly 4 years in prison. 14 others would be released after paying INR 2,500 fine as they have already served their prison terms.

The defence lawyer said that they would challenge the sentence at higher courts.

Maruti is India’s leading carmaker, selling 1.2 million cars in the year to March 31, its exports are limited and mainly to countries in Africa and Latin America.

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