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Court fines FCI officials

Calcutta, April 5: Calcutta High Court today directed two present and two former officials of the Food Corporation of India to pay a fine of Rs 5,400 each for not carrying out an earlier order of the court and for harassing 56 casual labourers at a Bankura godown, says our legal reporter.

The bench also directed the officials to pay the amount pending to the petitioners within eight weeks or face three months simple imprisonment.

The officials are former FCI managing director J.S. Gill, former senior regional manager K.K. Goutam, zonal manager A.S. Chapra and FCI district manager Rajat Sharma.

Bejoy Singh and 55 other casual labourers had filed a petition before the high court in 1997 demanding pay equal to the salary of Group D employees of the FCI. In 1998, a division bench of Justices B.P. Bannerjee and R. Mitra had ordered the FCI to pay salary to the petitioners at par with that of Group D employees. The FCI had challenged the high courtís order in the apex court, which upheld the formerís decision.

When the corporation authorities failed to carry out the verdict, the petitionersí counsel, Amit Pan, moved a contempt petition. While delivering judgment, the judges observed that the four FCI officers had wilfully flouted the order of the court. According to the petitionersí lawyer, the FCI authorities would have to pay more than Rs 2.5 crore to employees by way of dues.

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