Police in the Indian state of Haryana, home to Suzuki Motor Corp. (7269)’s local unit, dismissed union workers’ claims that bouncers employed by the company attacked them and set fire to a portion of the factory.
The union workers “indulged in criminal activities,” K.K. Sindhu, police commissioner for the Gurgaon district, said in an interview yesterday. “This is nonsense about the bouncers.”
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL) fell 5.9 percent yesterday to the lowest in a month, after the company July 21 announced a lockout pending a probe into last week’s violence that left a general manager dead and at least 70 injured. Maruti may lose output of 1,600 cars worth 700 million rupees ($12.5 million) a day because of the stoppage, according to Ashvin Shetty, an analyst at Ambit Capital Pvt. in Mumbai.
Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union, in an e-mail statement on July 19, said the company hired bouncers to attack and intimidate workers. Ram Meher Singh, president of the labor union, didn’t respond to two calls made to his mobile phone.
Police arrested 99 people in connection with the violence, according to Ranjiv Singh Dalal, director general of police of Haryana state. Authorities may charge all 3,000 union workers of murder and attempt to murder because they engaged in a mob attack, Maheswar Dayal, deputy commissioner of police in Gurgaon, said on July 19.
Sindhu said yesterday police may not charge all the workers with murder and were only detaining them to obtain information about the incident. The management is free to resume operations at the factory, he said.
Suzuki has said production facilities weren’t damaged by the unrest. Still, R.C. Bhargava, chairman of Suzuki’s local unit, said work won’t resume till a probe is complete.
“We cannot risk any further damage,” Bhargava said July 21. “That’s the reason why it’s necessary for us to do a complete investigation into the events that happened and identify the factors that caused the events to happen. What were the causes, what was behind all this, why did it happen?”