In a complete U-turn, the Andhra Pradesh Labour Department, which had recently given a clean chit to Diwakar Travels admitted in court on Tuesday, that the firm had violated norms.
The company is owned by the family of Anantapur MP JC Diwakar Reddy from the TDP, who notoriously created a ruckus at the Visakhapatnam airport last month.
In June this year, the Andhra Pradesh Labour Department gave a clean chit to Diwakar Travels, after an accident in February that killed 11 people.
However, the Hyderabad High Court questioned the move, and gave the state three weeks to file a detailed affidavit.
The Times of India reported that special chief secretary (Labour) Neerabh Kumar Prasada filed the affidavit on Tuesday, which quoted several inspection reports, and also said that a show cause notice had been issued to the firm, and due process of law was initiated.
The special CS also admitted one of the petitioner's claims that the travels in question had violated the Motor Transport Workers Act (MTW), 1961, by not registering with the Andhra Pradesh government.
The TOI report adds that the inspections also found several other violations like a lack of working hour limits, no compensatory day of rest, no annual leave with wages along with violations in providing canteen facility, uniforms, medical facilities, leave book, etc.
The court accepted the affidavit and asked the state for an 'action taken' report.
Advocate K V Subba Reddy had filed a PIL earlier, after which the HC had asked for a response from the prinicipal secretaries of the transport and labour departments.
In their response, the two secretaries gave a clean chit to the bus and the travel company, and said that all provisions of the law were met, also claiming that there were two drivers on board the bus, and that the vehicle had been in operation for the last one year, and met all safety standards.
The bus fell into a culvert on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway on February 28, in the early hours of the morning, killing 11, including the driver, Adinarayan Reddy.
Following the accident, the police did not file a case against Diwakar Travels, but rather booked the dead driver for the accident, which triggered a strong protest at the time from opposition parties.