MANAGERS WILL SERVE 1 1/2 YEARS SIMPLE IMPRISONMENT
Sanjay K Gupta in The Hindu
KOZHIKODE, 14th July, 2005. The Kozhikode District and Sessions Court on Wednesday upheld the verdict of the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) Court sentencing the defunct Mavoor unit of Grasim Industries (Pulp Division) president R. N. Saboo, and three other top officials to simple imprisonment of one-and-a-half years and imposing a penalty of Rs.5,000 each for allowing toxic effluents to flow from the factory into the Chaliyar river.
District Court Judge Thomas P. Joseph endorsing the lower court’s verdict of November 13, 2003, convicted the other officials, including the factory Technical Wing joint executive president C. Kochukrishnan, the Technical vice-president C. L. Gathani and the Processing Department general manager M. P. Raja.
While dismissing the appeal of the accused against the CJM court verdict, the District Court also issued summons asking them to appear before the CJM court on August 8 to enforce the conviction. It confirmed the findings of the CJM court that the factory had discharged untreated and toxic effluent into the Chaliyar river causing injury to public health and aquatic organisms.
This was also the first time top management officials of a industrial unit in the State had been convicted on account of discharging untreated effluents from a factory into a river. The verdict was based on a case filed by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) environmental engineer A. K. Hansraj on October 3, 1998.
The petitioner had alleged that the factory violated Section 25 and 26 of the Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974. The water samples collected from an authorised outlet at Chungapally and another unauthorised outlet revealed that the factory had been discharging untreated effluents exceeding the permissible limits. The CJM court had prosecuted the factory and its management, the KSPCB lawyer said. The KSPCB had conducted an analysis of the water samples at the Government level as well as by an outside agency.