Taranto, December 11 - An investigating judge in the southern port city of Taranto on Tuesday rejected the request by Italian steel producer ILVA to resume possession of steel and semi-finished products seized from its troubled plant on November 26. The company appealed against the court-ordered seizure on the basis of the decree law passed by the government on December 3 to allow the factory to remain in production while much-needed environmental upgrades are carried out. The impounded material weighs in at around 1.7 million tonnes and is currently lying in the ILVA docks at Taranto. It was due to be transported away from the site for sale when it was seized. The investigating judge is believed to have rejected the company's application to repossess the material on grounds that the decree law - passed after the seizure was ordered - is not retroactive. ILVA has been at the centre of a political and legal battle since July when local magistrates ordered the partial closure of its Taranto plant due to serious health concerns. Last month seven top managers were arrested as part of a corruption probe.