Loud protests took place at Vedanta Resources’s last London AGM on Monday.
Company founder and Chairman Anil Agarwal was not present, creating uproar among protesters and shareholders.
Vedanta Resources officially de-listed from the London Stock Exchange at 8am Monday morning.
Inside the meeting, dissident shareholders asked questions about the police shooting of thirteen protesters against Vedanta’s copper smelter in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu in May.
Another shareholder asked how much Vedanta spent on litigation or bribes, given the number of court cases they are tied up in at their various operations.
Meanwhile a large contingent of Tamil people played traditional Parai drums and demanded ‘justice for Tuticorin’ outside the AGM.
Hours before the meeting a protest was held at Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) headquarters in Canary Wharf, demanding that British regulatory authorities do not let Vedanta flee the London Stock Exchange without being held to account.
Representatives for FCA Directors were handed copies of a damning report ‘Vedanta’s Billions: Regulatory failure, environment and human rights’, published by Foil Vedanta(1) and a coalition of organisations days before.
The report was described by Hywel Williams MP as ‘deeply concerning and disturbing’ and gives a comprehensive account of legal judgments against Vedanta across its global operations, blaming the City of London and FCA for failing to regulate or penalise the company, which is the latest in a long list of London miners linked to ‘corporate massacres’.
On Thursday 27th September popular Zambian reggae artist Maiko Zulu – was arrested outside the British High Commission in Lusaka, Zambia, holding a banner stating ‘Hold Anil Agarwal to account for Zambian crimes before de-listing.’
Maiko gave a statement to the media, referring to the Vedanta subsidiary KCM’s pollution of the River Kafue, for which the landmark case of 1,826 farmers against Vedanta will be heard in London Supreme Court in January 2nd as well as the Tuticorin ‘massacre’:
“Vedanta is being de-listed from the London Stock Exchange following serious crimes against indigenous people of India and the pollution of our own Kafue River which is a source of livelihood for thousands of peasants. The inequality that multinationals are creating cannot be left unchecked and we will continue standing up and facing arrests for the good of our people. Our fellow protesters were shot at by police in India,” Maiko said.
Thirteen people, including women and children were killed by police shooting on the 100th day of protest against Vedanta’s copper smelter in Tuticorin in May, as well as 217 injured, and nine disabled for life.
Samarendra Das from Foil Vedanta, primary author of the Vedanta’s Billions report, says “Anil Agarwal is so desperate to avoid public scrutiny following the Tuticorin massacre that he ran away from his own company AGM. We cannot allow him and his board escapes accountability and justice in the UK, under whose jurisdiction they have committed widespread financial, human rights and environmental crimes. The FCA and City of London must now initiate proceedings against Vedanta or remain complicit in enabling and mitigating these abuses.”
In Zambia, where the company was found guilty of a major pollution incident in 2006, and there is evidence of widespread transfer mis-pricing and tax evasion, Vedanta’s subsidiary KCM recently had its power supply partially cut by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation due to its refusal to settle a three month electricity bill.
Contractors and suppliers of KCM are also in a long term dispute with the company over non-payment of invoices.