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Hotel pane kills model

Mumbai, June 16: The desire to swim in a five-star hotel pool cost a model her life.

Twenty-five-year-old, London-based Pritinder Kaur Brijpalsingh Negi died in the city’s Hotel Oberoi after a windowpane on its 25th floor came undone and slammed down on her head.

Negi was heading for the swimming pool around 6.15 last evening when the incident occurred. She was rushed to J.J. Hospital where doctors pronounced her dead.

A student of London City College, Negi is the daughter of a former official of the external affairs ministry, Brijpal Singh Negi.

She had taken a short break to come to India on some modelling assignments. “She had come to the hotel for a swim,” a police officer said.

The windowpane latched onto the fire escape window may have been eased out by monsoon winds. “It fell on her when she was at the poolside,” police said. “We have information that she was living in Versova with her family and had just come to India from England for some modelling work.”

The police have lodged a case of death due to negligence against the hotel management.

Hotel officials, however, questioned the model’s presence at the poolside as she was not putting up at the hotel and non-residents are not allowed to use the swimming pool.

“It is a little odd why and how she was there at the poolside though she had not checked in (at the hotel),” a hotel staff said.

Police said “as of now” they did not suspect any foul play. “We are examining whether the death of the young model was a case of pure accident or the result of negligence by the hotel management,” an officer investigating the case said. He added that it was too early to say anything categorically.

“We are looking into the safety and maintenance standards of the hotel and ascertaining if they were in keeping with the prescribed norms.”

A statement issued by the Hotel Oberoi today said the management was “deeply grieved by the tragic accident involving a non-resident guest near the poolside of the hotel”. It stated that the hotel management was conducting an independent investigation into the incident and “making all efforts to collect details relating to the accident”.

“We are cooperating with the police regarding the investigations,” the statement added.

Deputy commissioner of police (Zone I) Himanshu Roy, who is heading the investigations, said the police were waiting for the post-mortem report.

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