Corporate India is in shock after a mob of workers bludgeoned to death the chief executive who sacked them from a factory in a suburb of Delhi.

Lalit Kishore Choudhary, 47, the head of the Indian operations of Graziano Transmissioni, a manufacturer of car parts that has its headquarters in Italy, died of severe head wounds on Monday after being attacked by scores of laid-off employees, police said. The incident, in Greater Noida, followed a long-running dispute between the factory’s management and workers demanding better pay and permanent contracts.

It is understood that Choudhary, who was married with one son, had called a meeting with more than a hundred former employees who had been dismissed after an earlier outbreak of violence at the plant. He wanted to discuss a possible reinstatement deal.

A police spokesman said: “Only a few people were called inside. About 150 people were waiting outside when they heard someone from inside shout for help. They rushed in and the two sides clashed. The company staff were heavily outnumbered.”

Other executives said that they were lucky to escape with their lives. “I locked my door from inside and prayed they would not break in. See, my hands are trembling even three hours later,” one Italian consultant told reporters.

More than 60 people were arrested and more than 20 were in hospital yesterday.

Click here to read more from the Times of London.