Police register case against Jessop owner, directors

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Kolkata, Oct 19 (IANS) A day after the West Bengal government ordered a CID probe into repeated cases of fire in engineering firm Jessop’s factory premises, the state police on Wednesday initiated a suo motu case against its owner Pawan Ruia and other directors.

Four people, alleged to be burglars, were also arrested for intruding into the country’s oldest engineering firm’s factory near suburban Dumdum on Tuesday night, police said.

“We have enhanced security inside factory and started ambush system by posting personnel in civil dress. Four burglars were arrested on Tuesday. Police will start a suo motu case against them as the factory owners have not lodged any FIR,” Barrackpore City Police Commissioner Tanmay Roy Chowdhury said.

“Dumdum police station have also started a suo motu case against Jessop factory owner Pawan Kumar Ruia and other directors.” he said.

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However, a Jessop spokesperson wondered how Ruia could be dragged into the fire issue.

“Pawan K. Ruia is not the chairman, not a director, nor a shareholder, not even an occupier of Jessop and Company Ltd. or any of its premises. How can his name be dragged into the fire issue?” said Dhrubajyoti Nandi, Vice-President, Corporate Communications, of Ruia Group, which controls Jessop.

The West Bengal government on Tuesday ordered a CID probe after repeated incidents of fire over the past one month in the Jessop factory.

On Tuesday, police accused Jessop owners of flouting High Court order to repair factory walls, clean bushes and make adequate lighting arrangements in the premises.

Ahead of the assembly elections this year, the West Bengal government passed a bill to take over the Pawan Kumar Ruia group-controlled ailing industrial units — Dunlop India and the 228-year-old Jessop, a maker of rail wagons, EMU rakes and cranes.

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Founded in 1788 as Breen and Company, the firm was re-christened Jessop in 1820.

The central government took over its management in 1958 and then the company as a whole in 1973. Over the years, the company turned a loss-making venture.

In 2003, the government sold its 72 per cent stake to Ruia, who turned it into a profit-making business within a short time. However, over the years, the firm fell into tough times.

The company was shut down indefinitely in 2014.



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