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Andheri blaze: Family members up in arms against IndusInd

FAMILY members of those killed in Thursday’s fire at the Andheri branch of the IndusInd Bank have demanded stern action against the bank authorities for their failure to have proper fire-fighting equipment at the branch. While relatives of one of those who died in the fire have refused monetary compensation from the bank, others may, however, take up the offer of compensation and a job for a family member that the bank has announced.

Atanu Mohanchand Laha (26), who was killed in the fire, had made up his mind to quit the bank in August. “He was dissatisfied with the job as he had to work till 2 am on some days. He would be called even on weekends and never got the opportunity to spend quality time with us. He was planning to quit the bank and look for a job elsewhere,” said his elder brother Santanu Laha.

Laha’s family told SUNDAY MiD DAY they were not interested in any compensation as they are financially stable. Instead they want action to be taken against the bank. “We do not want any compensation but stringent action should be taken against them for having dummy fire fighting equipments,” said the elder Laha.
Another victim Rakesh Shirkar (27) from Jogeshwari had been working at the bank for the last five years as a clerk. Balu Shirkar, father of Rakesh, who works in a diamond-polishing factory, said that Rakesh was on the second shift when the fire occurred.

“Rakesh went to work at around 3 pm. I wasn’t there to see him, as I had already left at 7 am,” said Balu. After the incident, two of Rakesh’s colleagues visited the family, and initially told them that he had been taken to hospital.

“They didn’t want to shock his mother and sister,” said his father. Balu realised the truth on visiting the hospital and seeing his son’s body. The bank has offered the Shirkar family monetary compensation along with a job at the bank for a family member.

Meanwhile, of the eight others admitted to Seven Hill hospital, one is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and five others have been discharged after treatment. Two other injured, Nikhil Gupta and Jayendra Gadge, were moved to the general ward on Saturday. “None of the victims suffered burns, but have been admitted as they had inhaled smoke”, said Dr Shweta Tyagi, Head of Emergency at the hospital. 

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