IFB Agro asks Kolkata govt to probe ‘attack’ on its Noorpur liquor unit

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on June 29, 2020

Claims armed goons held employees as hostages, damaged CCTVs

IFB Agro Industries, one of the major India-made foreign liquor and country sprit-maker, has sought intervention of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after armed goons “attacked” one of its distilleries in the South 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal, a few kilometers off the city.

The attack on the morning of June 25  forced IFB Agro to shut the facility since then, it said in a stock market filing. The company stock which touched lower circuit on Monday morning trade at ₹304.70, closed at ₹316.40, at end of day on the BSE.

Apart from spirits, IFB Agro Industries deals in marine products. The company had reported revenues of ₹1,732 crore and a net profit of ₹33.21 crore for FY19.

According to its stock market notification, the company alleged that unidentified armed hooligans entered its Noorpur facility in the South 24 Parganas district on June 25, at around 7.40 a.m. They attacked the security guard and held the employees on duty there as hostages. They damaged various facilities including the CCTVs. The distillery was shut down and the goons forced the employees to leave the premises, at gunpoint, by noon. Police complaint has been filed, it further added.

“We are awaiting for better environment for the plant to be re-opened,” it added.

IFB Agro has maintained that the company’s Dankuni unit (in Hooghly) was re-opened on June 25 following orders by the excise commissioner.

Call for probe

While the West Bengal government is yet to make an official statement on the incident Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has called for a probe into the matter.

A press release issued by the Raj Bhavan on Monday evening maintained that the Governor has sought a report from the Additional Chief Secretary (Home Department) and the Additional Chief Secretary (Finance). “Both ACS Finance and ACS Home have been called upon to send an exhaustive updated Report at the earliest, but not later than a week,” it said.

The press release stated, “Such kind of actions do not promote conducive investment climate in the State.”

It added that such incidents “Send wrong signals to existing industrial units and discourage industrial investment in the State”. These adversely reflect on quality of governance.

The release from Raj Bhavan has also mentioned that reports have been sought “as to under what circumstances and legal authority, the Additional District Magistrate and Collector Excise suspended licence of IFB Agro Industries Ltd Unit at Dankuni on June 15, 2020 and under what circumstances the Excise Commissioner suspended the Order imparted by the ADM on June 25, 2020 while the proceedings were also under challenge before the High Court.”

Published on June 29, 2020

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