Vedanta’s Balco killings could land directors in court
Hardly a month passes without yet another serious accusation being levelled against Vedanta Resources plc – the mining company which, some have argued, is the “worst” on the planet.
In September 2009, a chimney being constructed for Vedanta’s Balco aluminium subsidiary in Korba district, collapsed, killing  at least 41 workers. Now, a local magistrate has ordered owners of the company – not just those in charge of operations on the ground – to answer charges that construction of the chimney was itself  illegal. In theory this could mean Vedanta’s chairman and majority-owner, Anil Agarwal, himself being called to court.
Meanwhile, Vedanta Aluminium has been found guilty of expanding its Lanjigarh alumina refinery without obtaining a proper permit. Whether the company will be given more than a slap on the wrist for breaking the law is decidedly moot, especially now that Vedanta’s “poodle” – the Orissa state government – says it doesn’t see anything wrong with the company’s actions.