Muthoot Finance Managing Director George Alexander was grievously injured Tuesday when an unidentified man hurled a big stone at the vehicle he was travelling in, in Kerala’s Kochi. Following the attack, Alexander was admitted to the Medical Trust hospital in the city. The hospital is expected to release a medical bulletin on his condition shortly.
Visuals of the attack, acquired by local television news channels, showed a man lunging at the car in which Alexander was travelling and throwing a stone. The stone broke the car’s window panes and hit the financial firm’s MD. The attacker was seen to be wearing a blue shirt and a mundu (dhoti).
The attack comes two days ahead of a major investor summit in Kerala. It is also in the backdrop of several months of protests by a section of employees at Muthoot, backed by the CITU — the trade union affiliated to the ruling CPM — demanding wage hike, better incentives and the alleged illegal termination of 166 workers without notice by the financial firm in December last year. The head office of the firm in Kochi was given police protection after CITU-backed protesters began an indefinite sit-in earlier this month.
Babu John, the Muthoot PRO, told reporters that he suspects the attack was carried out at the behest of the CITU, which has been organising protests outside the head office.
“The attack happened when the management, along with around 300 staff members, was heading toward the head office in a convoy of six vehicles. The car at the front, in which the MD was travelling, was attacked first. The stone smashed the window completely and hit the MD. The second car in the convoy was also attacked. When we reached the head office, we saw that the MD’s injuries were serious and admitted him in hospital,” John said.
“It was a ruthless and primitive attack. We strongly suspect it was carried out by the CITU,” he said.
One of India’s biggest gold financing companies, the Muthoot Finance has over 5,000 branches across the country with consolidated gross loan assets of Rs. 40,227 crore. In 2018-19, the company posted a consolidated total income of Rs. 7,601 crore. It employs close to 3,000 people across its 600 branches in Kerala.
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