Protectors cash in as 'dispute settlers'.

Bleeding money

Protectors cash in as 'dispute settlers'.

In November 2007, Karnataka Rakshna Vedike (KRV) leaders, including its president T A Narayana Gowda and organisation advocate R Suresha, breathed down the neck of an American multinational company as they tried to settle a dispute between the firm and some contract labourers.

In the bargain, the organisation and its leaders made a cool Rs 26.25 lakh through cheques issued by the multinational firm, Eriez MBE (India) Limited, which is based in Whitefield. After the company was forced to cough up the “settlement money”, it lodged a First Information Report with the Whitefield police which is now investigating the case against the KRV and some of its members.

In his complaint to the police, Eriez MBE managing director Satish Shenoy alleges that on November 5, 2007, 29 contract workers “came with a group of people from the KRV led by Narayana Gowda and created chaos by shouting and abusing our staff and workers who were peacefully working in the factory”.

According to the complaint, the company suspected one of its directors, Chidanand, head of engineering, Ganesh, and Lorna, who looked after sales coordination, to be hand-in-glove with the Rakshana Vedike cadres.

Golden chance
“When Narayana Gowda and other (KRV) members saw this happening, they saw a golden opportunity and threatened Dr Partha Venkataraman (who was a director at the time the complaint was lodged) to release Rs 26.25 lakh or they will create damage to the equipment and harm the staff.”

Venkataraman, an American citizen, was allegedly forced to pay Rs 59.30 lakh as compensation to the contract workers who had earlier refused to move to Chennai where the company wanted to relocate its operations.

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