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CBI Submits Status Report to Madras High Court on Anti-Sterlite Protests, Police Firing

File photo of anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi.

File photo of anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi.

The first case was against the protestors who indulged in widespread violence and the other against police for opening fire at them on May 22 last year, killing 13 people.

Madurai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday submitted before the Madras High Court bench its status report on the action taken on the two cases filed during the protest against the Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi, where 13 people were killed in police firing in May last year.

Officials said the report was submitted in a sealed cover and contained details of the progress made in investigation in the two cases. The first case was against the protestors who indulged in widespread violence and the other against police for opening fire at them on May 22 last year, killing 13 people.

When the case came up before the bench, comprising Justices TS Sivagnanam and R Tharani by the CBI deputy superintendent of police, the judges sought to know the developments on the matter, to which the CBI replied that the probe was going on without any hitch.

Various political parties, including the DMK, had expressed dissatisfaction for the 'slow progress' in the investigation. The bench then adjourned the case by a week to enable it study the report.

In June this year, the Vedanta group, which runs the Sterlite unit had submitted that the closure order against its plant by the Tamil Nadu government was nothing but 'naked' discrimination and a knee-jerk reaction to "appease" a section of public with vested interests.

Sterlite had submitted that the order was arbitrary and it was unreasonable to classify the company alone as a class in itself and that such a policy would be hit by Article 14 of the Constitution. The Tamil Nadu government had closed down the copper smelter unit on May 28 last year on pollution grounds.

Reports of the various committees, constituted by the National Green Tribunal, in support of the unit cannot be ignored, Sterlite had said. It had claimed that the state has taken the protection of a "policy decision" to circumvent statutory requirements, restrictions and mandate of 'Air and Water Act' and to seek to limit the grounds of challenge before the court of law.

Sterlite said it had already deposited Rs 100 crore with the Thoothukudi district collector, which was imposed by the Supreme Court and that the interest accrued on the said compensation deposited in 2013 had not been utilised for improving the environment, including water and soil, of the vicinity of the plant as directed by the apex court.

The Supreme Court had ordered the firm to pay Rs 100 crore as compensation for environmental damage around its Thoothukudi-based copper smelting unit in Tamil Nadu.

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