If workers file petitions against Global Steel Holdings Ltd for not paying their salaries, minister of overseas Indian affairs Valayar Ravi said he will ask Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to frame charges and initiate litigation against the company.
One of Global Steel’s group companies, Ispat Industries Ltd, is based in Mumbai and runs a steel plant there.
“At the moment, I have no data because (Global Steel chairman Pramod) Mittal cannot be contacted by my office,” Ravi said on Wednesday.
On 2 April, Mint reported that Global Steel has not paid more than 500 Indians in Bulgaria and Nigeria, and more than 100 have returned home.
Mittal, the brother of Lakshmi N. Mittal, CEO of world’s largest steel company ArcelorMittal, has eluded the Indian government. He has also not returned Mint’s calls or faxes for comment.
Ravi said he would take up the matter with finance minister P. Chidambaram. “It’s a big fraud. Mittal should be the first accused.” In Nigeria, employees have not been paid salaries for more than eight months and allowances for three months. In Bulgaria, most employees have not received payments for two months, and arrears owed to some run into four months. The company had secured more than 550 work permits — 480 in Nigeria and 72 in Bulgaria — according to employees hired as executive in the two countries.
Despite the minister’s call, workers say they doubt anyone would file a police case against the company. The workers have either secured other jobs or are hoping they will be paid.
“If some sort of networking platform is created, they will complain,” said a former employee in Nigeria who requested anonymity.