Madras HC orders to CBI Investigation into Police Firing
Madras High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to complete in four months.
The Madurai bench of Madras High Court, comprising Justices Basheer Ahamed and CT Selvam, passed the order after hearing PILs seeking CBI investigation into the incident.
The Madras High Court had on Monday also sent a notice to the Vedanta group’s Sterlite copper plant on a petition seeking Rs 7.5 billion towards the rehabilitation of people affected by pollution allegedly caused by it and relief for victims of the police firing during a protest in May.
Petitioner Vijaya Nivas sought a court direction to the company to pay Rs 6.2 billion for rehabilitation of people in and around its plant in Tuticorin, apart from a compensation of Rs100 million each for the 13 people killed in police firing during the anti-Sterlite agitation on May 22 and 23.
In May this year, protests calling for the closure of the factory turned violent and 13 people were killed in police action.
The Tamil Nadu government had, on May 28, ordered the state pollution control board to seal and “permanently” close the mining group’s copper plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.
The company had then appealed to the NGT, which had overturned the government order. The state had then moved the Supreme Court against it.
The NGT had on August 9 allowed Vedanta to enter its administrative unit inside its Sterlite copper plant, observing that no environmental damage would be caused by allowing access to the administrative section.
The green panel had, however, said that the plant would remain closed and the company would not have access to its production unit and directed the district magistrate to ensure this.
The decision comes just hours after the Supreme Court agreed to hear on August 17 the plea of Tamil Nadu government challenging an order of the National Green Tribunal allowing mining major Vedanta access to the administrative unit inside its closed Sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin in the state.
Sterlite’s factory had first made headlines in March 2013 when a gas leak led to the death of one person and injuries to several others, after which then chief minister J Jayalalithaa had ordered its closure.
13 people were killed after violent clashes broke out in May as the police tried to prevent protesters from marching to the district collectorate at Tuticorin.
Chennai: In a major setback for Tamil Nadu government, the Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered CBI inquiry into police firing during the anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu on May 22 in which 13 people were killed.
The court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to complete its probe within four months.
A division bench of Justice C T Selvam and A M Basheer passed the order on a batch of pleas moved against the police firing and detention of protesters under the National Security Act.
The bench passed the order in the principal seat of the Madras High Court. The court originally reserved its order in the Madurai bench for August 1.
After the high court’s order, Tamil Nadu minister D Jayakumar said, “The Court has given its order for the CBI probe. The Tamil Nadu government will definitely meet to decide upon this.”
Violent clashes broke out in May as the police tried to prevent protesters from marching to the district collectorate at Tuticorin; the protesters had been demanding a permanent closure of the Sterlite plant at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, owned by London-listed Vedanta Resources, on environmental grounds.