‘NREGA worker stood surety for Chinese nationals’ bail’

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RAIPUR - A controversy cropped up in Chhattisgarh Tuesday after a Congress politician said that a tribal, who is a National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme card holder, acted “on the behest of someone” to stand surety for the bail granted to three Chinese nationals in an industrial accident.

Releasing documents to mediapersons here, Mohammed Akbar said: “The tribal, Indra Bhawan Singh, 52, of Katghora tehsil in Korba district who earns Rs.100 a day under NREGA scheme was either coerced or misled by someone to stand as surety for Chinese nationals whom he never knew.”

Akbar said he had written to External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily stating the facts in the case and had requesting them to order a probe.

The three Chinese nationals - Wu Chunnan, Liu Gaoxuan, and Wang Weiquing, all employed in Korba town with a Chinese firm SEPCO - were arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police in January for their role in last year’s Sep 23 accident at the under-construction Balco power plant when a chimney collapsed, killing 41 contract workers.

Vedanta Resources Plc-controlled Balco, in which the Indian government holds a 49 percent stake, had awarded a Chinese firm, Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO), the task of constructing two thermal power plants of 600 MW each at Korba, some 240 km north from here.

The Chinese nationals face charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under 304 and under sections, 324, 326 and 34 of Indian Penal Code. As the local court in Korba and then Bilaspur-based Chhattisgarh High Court denied them bail, they moved the Supreme Court, which granted them bail in April.

Akbar said early action in the issue was necessary especially in the backdrop of a debate raging in the country over Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) former chairman Warren Anderson getting bail and leaving India after the Bhopal gas tragedy.

“BJP is pressing hard to know who let off Anderson but its own government in Chhattisgarh is totally silent after influential industrialists are apparently trying to subvert legal process by roping a NREGA worker as surety for Chinese nationals,” he alleged.

Filed under: Politics

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