Sterlite protests: Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal says his Tamil Nadu firm is open to scrutiny by any independent committee

Following the death of 13 people in Thoothukudi in violent protests demanding the closure of a copper smelter, operated by Sterlite Copper, a subsidiary of London-traded Vedanta Resources,  chairman Anil Agarwal has said his company is open to scrutiny by any independent technical committee, according to a media report.

Speaking to The Economic Times about the Sterlite Copper plant allegedly polluting the environment, Agarwal said that he will come forward if something is found amiss. He claimed that there is absolutely no liquid discharge from the plant.

Agarwal claimed the protests were provoked by anti-development groups and that Sterlite Copper is a victim of "fake activism."

“Such activists are time and again raking up the sentiments of the public for their vested interests that have now cost the lives of innocent people. They wish to destabilise Indian industry through orchestrating protests for various reasons,” Agarwal was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

 Sterlite protests: Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal says his Tamil Nadu firm is open to scrutiny by any independent committee

A file photo of Anil Agarwal. Image courtesy: Twitter/@AnilAgarwal_Ved

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, on Monday, said his government will take the necessary steps to permanently shut down the copper smelter.

On 25 May, the UK's opposition Labour Party called for Vedanta to be delisted from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) following the death of the 13 protesters. John McDonnell, the UK's Shadow Chancellor, said removing Vedanta  from the London financial markets would prevent reputational damage from the "rogue" company, which has been operating "illegal" mining concerns for years.

"After the massacre of the protestors this week, regulators must now take action. Vedanta must be immediately delisted from the London Stock Exchange to remove its cloak of respectability, restore confidence in the governance of the Stock Exchange, and prevent further reputational damage to London's financial markets from this rogue corporation," McDonnell said in a statement on Friday.

On 24 May, Agarwal described as 'unfortunate' the loss of lives in violent protests. In a video message posted on his Twitter handle, Agarwal said the company would like to continue operating the plant, India's second largest, with the 'wish' of the community.

"I am very sad to hear the incident... This was absolutely unfortunate. My full sympathy is with the families (of the deceased)," Agarwal said.

Claiming that the company follows the courts' and the government's orders, the NRI billionaire said,"We always make sure [that] the community and Tuticorin's people at large prosper with us."

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 28, 2018 14:30:32 IST