Rakesh Talreja had cheated death twice, but the Grim Reaper caught up with him this time. The body of the 23-year-old Vasai resident who was allegedly shot dead during an armed robbery in Jamaica on February 9 arrived home yesterday.
The casket was flown in on a British Airways flight and received by Rakesh's grieving family.
Rakesh, who worked as an electronics showroom salesman in the Caribbean country, was allegedly killed by three robbers when he refused to hand over the money from the cash register to them.
Rakesh Talreja worked at an electronics store in Jamica. Family and friends prepare the body for the last rites.
The family, however, feels that that isn't the whole truth. "We still don't know what actually happened that day because there are differing versions in the Jamaican media. I was told that the robbery took place at Rakesh's house, when he was upstairs. There were four others in the house then. My father was told the night of the killing that he had been shot dead in an armed robbery at the workplace," said Mahesh Talreja, Rakesh's elder brother who works as an accountant in South America. "Why did the robbers have to kill him if their sole intent was to steal cash? Also, I've been trying to contact others who had been injured in the shooting, but they haven't responded yet."
His mother is still trying to come to terms with the insurmountable loss. Pics/Hanif Patel
A relative revealed that Rakesh had escaped death twice as a child.
At the age of 6, he was allegedly kidnapped and found, covered in cigarette burns, on railway tracks the next day. In his teens, Rakesh had been hospitalised for a month after hitting a railway pole.
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The family had believed that he would be safer working in a different country. "We didn't know we would end up losing him," said the relative.
The tragedy has spooked the entire family, said Prakash Talreja, Rakesh's father who works at an electric switch manufacturing factory in Vasai. He is now afraid of letting Mahesh, who was in the city for the funeral, go back to his workplace.
Rakesh's last rites were performed last evening in Vasai.