Plant operator freed from jail

Worker tells how he was ‘abandoned’ in jail by former employer

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  June 26, 2005

A construction worker who was jailed after being blamed for the death of a co-worker has spoken to Construction Week about his ordeal, following his release from prison this week. Joy Joseph, a 61-year-old jailed Indian concrete batching plant operator, was involved in a tragic site accident two years ago when he was in charge of operating a concrete plant. Joseph was held responsible for the death of a colleague who was crushed by the machine when it was started. He was sentenced to one month in prison and ordered to pay blood money of AED200 000 to the dead man’s relatives. He was released on bail until 16th January 2005 when he was re-arrested and jailed after failing to secure the blood money. This week, Joseph was released from jail after the Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC) raised more than AED75 000 for the ‘diya’ money. ICWC president Krishnamurthy Kumar, said: “It was an accident which the man has spent his time in jail for.“How can one expect a construction worker to come up with such a large amount of money in one go? “We convinced his company to pay AED100 000, the Indian community raised AED75 900, and the balance was taken out of the ICWC fund.” Kumar claims that the chief minister of Kerala, Oomen Chandy, personally intervened to get the former employer Safe Mix Ready Concrete Company to pay the balance for Joseph’s release. Joseph has accused his former employer of abandoning him in jail. He said: “They didn’t contact me even once when I was in jail. They had told me they’d have matters sorted out in two days, and then left me there until I was rescued by the ICWC.” But a company spokesperson denied the claim, saying: “We did our best to get him out of jail, and visited him several times.”

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