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20-kg slab falls off building, kills man

A 40-year-old salesman lost his life when the slab broke off from the second floor of the New Empire building in Fort and came crashing down on his head

You may have often heard of life insurance claims, but instances of insurance claiming a life are harder to come by. Last Tuesday, a 40-year-old salesman walking past the New Empire building in Fort pitifully lost his life when a 20-kg concrete block dislodged itself from the part of the building that houses the LIC offices, plunged towards the ground, and fell on his head.

Death of a salesman: Ansari, a resident of Amrut Nagar in Mumbra, worked as a salesman at a magazine shop located in Fort. He was the sole breadwinner for his large family, and would struggle to make ends meet

According to the police, the incident took place at about 5.40 pm. Unaware that death would soon come crashing down on him, Yusuf Abdul Kalam Ansari walked on the pavement lining the New Empire building on D N Road. It was then that the massive slab plummeted from a great height. He collapsed immediately. Two pedestrians who had witnessed the incident rushed Ansari to St George Hospital, where he breathed his last, from the impact of the slab and the deep head injuries sustained.

Police sources revealed that the concrete block was part of the fa ade of the New Empire building on its second floor, and attached to the outer wall of the LIC office. The building, which, incidentally, is a heritage structure, accommodates the State Bank of India office on its ground floor, while the rest of the floors house LIC offices.

Ansari, a resident of Amrut Nagar in Mumbra, worked as a salesman at a magazine shop located in Fort. He was the sole breadwinner for his large family, and would struggle to make ends meet. His wife, 27-year-old Noorie, is now left to provide for his mother Zubeda (65) and their three children. The bereft woman's anger was palpable as she promised to fight for justice.

Speaking to MiD DAY, she said, "My husband alone earned money for the family. The police have told me that the building belongs to the government. I want justice. I have faith that the Mumbai police will help me get justice." 

The ground reality, however, does little to inspire confidence in her faith. Following the incident, Inspector Anthony Steven of Azad Maidan police station, who is investigating the matter, has only registered a case of accidental death.

"Prima-facie, we have registered an accidental death report in the matter. We will register an FIR if we think that the accident resulted from the negligence on part of authorities," said Deepak Dhole, senior inspector, Azad Maidan police station. Shakil Shaikh, a family friend of the deceased, said, "The family is still reeling from the shock of the tragedy. They are yet to come to terms with the fact that their beloved kin is no more. His mother and wife lost consciousness at St George hospital, when they heard of Ansari's demise."

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