Last rites of deputy CM's friends performed in Baramati

Pawar had even launched special efforts for the rescue of Umesh Potekar and Mahesh Gugale, but the two could not be saved. Their bodies were charred beyond recognition when found around 10.15 pm on the day of the fire, and it was only a locket worn by Potekar that helped the police identify the two.

Last rites: The bodies of Umesh Potekar and Mahesh Gugale Were charred beyond recognition when found on the day of the fire at Mantralaya. (below) The procession of Potekar at Baramati

Both staunch supporters of Pawar from his hometown Baramati, Potekar and Gugale had come to meet the NCP leader and kept trying to contact him upon finding themselves trapped in the fire.

“It is a shocking incident for all the people of Baramati,” Baramati resident Rajan Taware said. “They were active in politics as well as in business. They had wide contacts in Baramati because of their jolly nature.”

Potekar was the former president of the Baramati Bank and Gugale was president of the Merchants Association. The two had also contributed a lot to the NCP during elections.

After learning of the fire, their relatives and friends had tried to contact them but could not get through. Potekar’s brother Manoj had even rushed to Mumbai. Potekar is survived by his wife, two sons and parents. Gugale also leaves behind his wife, two sons and parents.Potekar’s family had recently celebrated his father’s 75th birthday. 

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