COVID-19: Radio Club staffer called to change swimming pool water, electrocuted
Deputy Commissioner of Police Sangramsinh Nishandar said an Accidental Death Report has been filed
A swimming pool maintenance employee working at the Bombay Presidency Radio Club (BPRC) in Colaba amid the Coronavirus lockdown died of electrocution on Thursday. Ramchandra Bhuneshwar's body was seen floating in the swimming pool by another staffer.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Sangramsinh Nishandar said an Accidental Death Report has been filed. "Prima facie, a 42-year-old man in charge of maintaining the swimming pool at Colaba's Radio Club died of electrocution. We have registered a case under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code against Radio Club officials and the contractor for breaking lockdown norms," he said.
Senior police inspector of Colaba police Shivaji Phadtare said Bhuneshwar was taking water out of the pool with the help of an electric pump when he got electrocuted.
Sources said that Bhuneshwar, a contractual employee, was asked by his contractor Babu Khomrekar to clean the water of the swimming pool a week ago. "At the time of conducting the panchnama, Khomrekar was called by Colaba police. He told the police that Adi Mistry, a Managing Committee Member working as the Chairman of Swimming Pool and Gym at the Radio Club, told him to get Bhuneshwar to change the pool water," a source working at the Radio Club said.
Bhuneshwar is survived by wife, Vimal, two daughters and a six-year-old son. His relative, Siddhant Gaikwad, said, "Bhuneshwar was asked to continue maintenance work at Radio Club's swimming pool even during the lockdown. He lives in Murud Janjira. When no permanent staff is working at the club, why was he forced to continue his work?"
President of Radio Club, Harish Kumar Garg, said, "I am not aware how Bhuneshwar died and what was he doing at the Radio Club amid a lockdown as I am a 72-year-old man and I have been staying home."
Sources said nearly a dozen Radio Club employees living at the premises spoke to the Colaba police during the panchanama. "Committee members forced these workers to leave the club amid the lockdown because they spoke to the police," source added.
Club members speak
Advocate Ravi Goenka, a member of the club, said, "We all are following the lockdown rules and sitting at home. And the rich and powerful people who are on the committee of tony clubs (i.e Radio Club) call staff to work in spite of the lockdown."
The Radio Club committee refused to answer calls. A club member said angrily, "Calling in staff to work is exploitation and violation of the lockdown."
Several members expressed surprise that the pool was filled with water and not drained as no one swims there amid the lockdown. Another member said, "We do not want this brushed away as an Accidental Death Report. A poor employee has lost his life, let us get to the bottom of this through a thorough investigation."
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