A Gurgaon court on Friday convicted 31 people and acquitted 117 others in connection to the Maruti Suzuki factory violence case, in which a general manager died of asphyxiation and nearly hundred others were injured.
A little under two years earlier, in March 2015, 77 of the 148 accused in the case had been granted bail. Business Standard revisits the story of those who had walked out of jail after spending two and a half years there.
One by one, 26 former employees of Maruti Suzuki stepped out of jail for the first time in two-and-a-half years early on March 20, 2015. Many looked up to the sky, perhaps to thank God, while others scurried past policemen to meet their family members gathered outside the Bhondsi jail. Clad in a blue checked shirt and jeans, Raman Kumar appeared from behind a police van close to the entrance of the jail. He and former colleague, Ravinder Singh, walked another thousand yards to reach the lawns, where many families had slept the previous night. The jail, on the outskirts of the city, involves a walk of five km to the nearest point of public transport. The remote location delayed the release of these inmates by a day as the bail orders reached the jail authorities late in the evening. Additional Sessions Judge S K Khanduja had granted bail to 77 of the 148 accused three days ago. It took the lawyers another two days to complete the formalities and the release orders of 26 accused could only be signed on Thursday. The orders for the remaining ones will be signed over the next two days. The men, mostly aged between 21 and 28, were arrested in July 2012 for allegedly rioting at Maruti's Manesar plant, during which a company executive was charred to death. The administration slapped 18 sections of the Indian Penal Code, including charges of murder, attempt to murder, arson, rioting and criminal conspiracy, on the accused. The rioting occurred following the suspension of an employee, leading to one of the worst industrial unrests in the country. The plant was shut for days, resulting in huge losses. The judge had earlier refused bail on grounds of the serious nature of the case. In India, the judicial system is such that the judge gives an equal opportunity to the prosecution to oppose bail prayers. In this case, it took time because of the large number of bail applications. "The trial dragged on because the prosecution deliberately delayed the examination of the witnesses, knowing well that the latter would not stand up to scrutiny in court.
They could not produce any evidence before the judge," said Vrinda Grover, who argued for the accused. "The false case has left the families destitute," she added.