Abhishek Agrawal Blog

Operation Cyclone: India Inc, Bollywood mourn the dead

Posted on: November 29, 2008

MUMBAI: It was a Saturday evening the CEOs of India Inc and Bollywood stars will not forget in a hurry. The sight of four simultaneous funerals


of terror victims at Banganga crematorium in South Mumbai was enough to make the angry friends and relatives of the victims ask why Mumbai is becoming such an easy target for terrorism and what the government was doing about it.

“The security of the nation should be the priority number one for the country. We should handle it the same way the US government is now handling the financial crisis. For how long can we continue to remain helpless victims,” asked Ashok Hinduja, head of Hinduja group’s Indian operations. “It’s time for an unified command to meet the challenges of these kind of crises,” he advised.

Mr Hinduja was attending the funeral of his relatives, Monika Chhabria and her husband, who died in the Oberoi hotel terror attacks. Monika’s brother, Bollywood actor Ashish Chaudhary repeatedly broke down as a number of Bollywood actors trooped down to the sea facing crematorium to support the family.

Many of them wore black ribbons to show solidarity for those who had died. These included Vinod Khanna, Ritesh Deshmukh, Aftab Shivdasani, Zayed Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Harman Baweja, singer Kunal Gaanjawala, designer Vikram Phadnis and comedian Cyrus Broacha. In the nearby pyre, friends and relatives of non-executive chairman of Yes Bank Ashok Kapur were mourning the death of the banker who groomed many of the present bank CEOs.

“I worked under him for six years… it was shocking news to all of us,” said Paul Abraham, COO of IndusInd Bank.

A host of corporate leaders, film stars attend funeral

“I am also here to offer my condolence to the Shah family who is our landlord,” Paul Abraham, COO of IndusInd Bank, said. Real estate developer Pankaj S Shah of Satellite Group died at the Oberoi. A host of other bankers and corporate leaders attended the funeral of Mr Kapur.

S Ramadorai, CEO of TCS, Jagdish Capoor, chairman of HDFC Bank and former deputy governor of RBI, Amit Chandra country head and MD of Bain Capital, Shitin Desai executive vice chairman, DSP Merrill Lynch, Sanjiv Bhasin, CEO, DBS Bank, and a host of former Grindlays officials — Romesh Sobti, MD, IndusInd Bank, Meera Sanyal, CEO, ABN Amro, Nani Jhaveri- former CEO Birla Sunlife Life Insurance, SD Nayyar former CMD ING AMC, Udayan Bose chairman Thomas Cook, Suraj Mehta former head of Dresdner Bank, and M&Ms Arun Nanda were in sombre mood as Kapur’s pyre was lit. Echoing the sentiment of the crowd, Romesh Sobti, MD, IndusInd Bank said: “The banking community evoked the sentiments of the public at large. We now have had repeated reminders and we need to do something. But the loss of so many lives does not seem to have galavnized things into action. The government should look at spending Rs 10,000-15,000 crore over the next two-three years for setting up crisis management infrastructure. Already six -seven cities have gone through this trauma.” Many, however, hope that this week’s terror strikes will not result in business moving away from Mumbai, the financial capital of the region. Country head and MD of Bain Capital: “I don’t think the current events would not impact the business. Our people were already in office on Friday,” said Amit Chandra.

Realty tycoon, Gopal L Raheja, who came to attend the funeral of real estate developer, Pankaj Shah said the industry is was anyway going through a rough time and the current crisis will just add to the negative sentiment. “We should be talking about the positive events in the economy to support the industry which supports another 250 industries and employs millions.”


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