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Mumbai flat owner puts comfort first, costs AC mechanic his life

27-year-old Suraj Yadav died of an electric shock after being forced to work despite telling the Juhu flat owner that it was risky to work on the AC's outdoor unit without sufficient light

A Juhu flat owner’s rush to get his air conditioner fixed and the service centre owner’s desire to extract as much work as possible out of his employee allegedly led to the death of 27-year-old AC mechanic Suraj Yadav.

AC mechanic Suraj Yadav AC mechanic Suraj Yadav was the sole breadwinner of his family of five. His assistant Abdul Kadir (right) said the flat owner and his family refused to help even after Yadav suffered the electric shock
AC mechanic Suraj Yadav was the sole breadwinner of his family of five. His assistant Abdul Kadir (right) said the flat owner and his family refused to help even after Yadav suffered the electric shock

Yadav, the sole breadwinner of his family of five, was allegedly forced to repair the AC at the fifth-floor Juhu flat of businessman Shailesh Singh on Saturday despite telling Singh that it was too dark to work safely. Yadav received an electric shock while working on the outdoor unit of the AC on Saturday evening and was declared dead on arrival at a hospital.

Yadav’s assistant claims that his pleas for help went unheard by Singh and his family and Yadav was lying on the outdoor unit for nearly 15 minutes after receiving the electric shock before Singh asked a security guard to help.

The Juhu police has booked and arrested Singh, along with the owner and manager of the service centre, for death due to negligence. The accused will be produced in court today.

Long association
Yadav lived in Khar’s Teacher's Colony area with his parents, wife and an 18-month-old son. He had been working at Santosh Service Centre, owned by Santosh Tekwade and managed by Kishor Gaikwad, at Telli Gulli, Andheri (East), for three years.

Speaking to mid-day, Abdul Kadir, who was assisting Yadav on Saturday, said, “Around 5.30 pm, we got a message from office asking us to call or half-a-day’s pay would be docked.

When we called, they asked us to repair the AC at Singh’s fifth-floor flat at West Wind Building I, Gandhigram Road, Juhu. We were asked to finish the work that evening itself.”

“After Yadav inspected the outdoor unit and realised there was very little light in the area, he told Singh that working that evening would be difficult and unsafe and that we would come the next day to finish the work. Singh, however, refused to listen and told us to finish the work right then,” said Kadir.

‘No help’
While working on the outdoor unit, which was enclosed in a grill, Yadav got an electric shock, screamed, and fell unconscious. “I immediately switched off the AC switch and asked Singh to turn off the electric main.

While Yadav was unconscious, I begged Singh and his family members present in the house more than 15 times to come and help, but none of them came forward. Helpless, I tried calling my friends to see if someone could come and help, but no one was close to Juhu,” Kadir recalled.

“More than 15 minutes passed by and Yadav was still lying on the outdoor machine. I finally requested Singh to at least call the building’s security guard. He arrived after another five minutes and we pulled out Yadav. We took him to a hospital in Singh’s car, where he was declared dead on arrival.”

‘They killed him’
Yadav’s father, Samarnath, said, “We have nothing left now. My son told all of them that it would be risky to work in the dark and requested that he be allowed to finish it the next day, but he was forced to work. They (the shop owner, manager, and Singh) are all responsible for my son’s death.”

Singh’s family members refused to comment. A police officer from Juhu police station said, “We have registered a case against flat owner Singh, the shop owner Tekwade and supervisor Gaikwad under Sections 304A (death by negligence) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

They have been arrested and will be produced in court on Monday. We are investigating the role of the owner and the alleged negligence on his part.”

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