Standing in wait while his car got repaired at a garage near Jogeshwari last afternoon, Rakesh Ughade watched in horror as a dumper hurtled out of control, and crashed into a footpath, crushing two unsuspecting souls who were sitting in the shade of a tree by the side of the road.
He rushed to help the two ragpickers, only to make the discovery that they had died on the spot. His disbelief, however, was compounded when he was told minutes later that the victims were his long-lost kin, who had drifted apart from his family when under severe financial duress.
Ughade (27), who works as an executive in Seepz, was out getting his car repaired around 1.15 pm when the dumper went on a rampage on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, crushing Chandrabhaga Jadhav (65) and her only son Arun (35) in its path of destruction. “It was only after my aunt, who lives in the area, reached the spot, that she identified Arun as my maternal uncle. It was after this that I informed the rest of the family about the tragedy,” said Rakesh.
According to Rakesh, his unlucky relatives were having food as they sat in the shade of a tree to get some respite from the scorching summer sun. “It was sheer coincidence that my car developed some engine problems and I happened to be in a garage on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, just a few feet away from the accident spot.
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There is no way that I would have recognised them, for the simple reason that I had never had any social interaction with them. Moreover, their bodies were mutilated in the accident.”
Nyandeo Paikrao, Ughade’s uncle and the 65-year-old victim’s brother-in-law, recalled that Arun’s father Bhimrao Jadhav was a Jawan in the Indian Army. “The family of husband, wife and the two kids Arun and Gangu, was making ends meet. They owned a residence in a Powai chawl. After Bhimrao’s demise around 25 years ago, the widow was forced to sell the house to get her daughter Gangu married. They were plunged into financial difficulties,” he said.
Eventually, the mother and son shifted to a shanty erected between the Powai pipeline near Milind Nagar slums. “Arun was sickly right from the beginning and assisted his mother in gathering scrap, which was the family’s only source of income.” Late last night, the family was seen outside the post- mortem department at Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle waiting to claim the bodies.
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Chandrabhaga Jadhav (65)
Arun Jadhav (35)
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