Nine men armed with iron pipes and inflammatory liquids, claiming to be ‘Maoists’ as per the handbills left in the premises, vandalised the headoffice of Nitta Gelatin India Limited (NGIL), in Panampilly Nagar here today.
The armed men, some with their faces covered, broke into the office at around 7:50 am. According to the officials of NGIL, the attack had left the company with a loss of up to Rs 40 lakhs, which includes damages to glass panels, desktop computers and vehicles parked inside the compound.
The attack took place when the usual security personnel and housekeeping staff and two of the company employees were present in the premises. As the attackers barged in with iron pipes, the security personnel could not resist them.
Senior police and company officials, which includes MR Ajit Kumar, IGP, Ernakulam Range; KG James, commissioner of Police, and Sajiv Menon, managing director of NGIL, immediately rushed to the scene.
The police had sounded alert at all travel points, bus depots and railways stations, and hopes to grab the culprits at the earliest. City Police Commissioner has formed a team with members from the state intelligence to jointly investigate the incident. Fingerprint experts and dog squad also visited the scene to find clues of the attackers.
According to the security guard, the armed men have raised Maoist slogans. They also left behind a letter written in Malayalam stating there was a need to take action against the company as it was causing pollution.
While expressing shock at the incident, Sajiv Menon, in response to a query, categorically denied charges made by the attackers. He pointed out to the recent study by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) under directions of the Kerala high court on the Ossein plant of the company in Kathikudam, near Chalakudy.
The study confirmed the company was compliant with the regulations on pollution control. He also cited the judgment of the high court last year to provide police protection to ensure the smooth operations of the company’s Ossein plant.
He said the company already had fully implemented 12 of the 23 recommendations made by NEERI.