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63 charged with killing boss who fired them

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  • Police in India charge 63 people with murdering company boss who fired them
  • Mob of fired employees attacked chief executive of Italian car parts company
  • India's labor minister apologizes for saying death is warning to management
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Police in India have charged 63 people with murder in the beating death of a company boss who fired them.

Labor minister Oscar Fernandes was criticized for saying Chaudhary's death was warning to management.

Labor minister Oscar Fernandes was criticized for saying Chaudhary's death was warning to management.

The 63 were among 137 people police had rounded up by Wednesday -- two days after a mob of fired employees attacked L.K. Chaudhary, the chief executive of an Italian car parts manufacturing company.

The others were charged with disturbing the peace in the Monday incident in Noida, located in the outskirts of the capital New Delhi.

More arrests are likely, said R. K. Chaturvedi, the senior superintendent of police in Noida.

The former employees of Graziano Transmissioni had gone to meet with company management over their reinstatement, said Noida police Inspector Manoj Pathak.

The meeting turned violent, and the mob attacked Chaudhary with iron rods, Pathak said.

On Tuesday, India's labor minister, Oscar Fernandes, drew sharp criticism after he said Chaudhary's death should serve as a warning to management, according to CNN's sister network in India, CNN-IBN.

"The workers should be dealt (with) with compassion and should not be pushed so hard that they resort to whatever that had happened in Nodia" CNN-IBN quoted Fernandes as telling reporters.

The minister later apologized, telling CNN his comments had been taken out of context. He said the murder of the boss could never be justified.

The Italian Embassy said the company had, for several months, been facing "violent forms of protest by self-proclaimed workers' representatives."

"The situation had been repeatedly brought to the attention of the competent Indian authorities, both at central and local level," it said in a statement.

Business groups condemned the killing with the Confederation of Indian Industry calling it "tragic, unwanted and gory."

"Such instances of industrial violence cannot be a solution to any problem and must not be tolerated," said Salil Singh, chairman of the group that promotes industrial growth.

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Meanwhile, authorities sought to appease businesses that police were aggressively investigating the case.

"The legal course will be followed and all culprits brought to book," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said. "This stray tragic occurrence would not be allowed to mar India's position as an investment-friendly destination."

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh contributed to this report.

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