HC relief for Balco in 2009 chimney collapse incident
Bilaspur: In a relief to aluminium major Balco, the Chhattisgarh High Court has stayed any action against the company based on a judicial panel's report holding it responsible for the chimney collapse incident at the firm's power plant at Korba town in 2009.
The order came yesterday after Justice Satish Agnihotri admitted a petition of the company challenging the report of Sandeep Bakshi Judicial Commission which indicted the Vedanta-controlled aluminium firm for negligence that led to the death of 40 people and injury to several others.
During the hearing, Balco counsels Abhishek Sinha and Vivek Tankha pleaded their client was not given enough opportunity by the panel to present their defence.
This was a violation of Commission of Inquiry Act's Section 8-B (related to hearing persons likely to be prejudicially affected), they said.
"Justice Agnihotri was convinced with arguments and granted stay on any action against the company based on the judicial panel's report for the chimney collapse incident," Sinha said Thursday.
On September 29, 2009, a chimney being constructed at Balco's power plant at Korba, 225km from capital Raipur, came down crashing during rains.
The construction was being carried out by GDCL for Chinese company SEPCO which had received the contract from Balco. A judicial probe was ordered by the State Government to ascertain the reason for the tragedy.
The commission's report, tabled in the recent winter session of State Assembly, had concluded that negligence by Balco, Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO), Indian firm Gannon Dunkerley and Company Ltd (GDCL) and Government agencies led to the incident.