Binay Feared Replacing His British Predecessor: Friends

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Puri: The Pani family in Puri is in a state of shock ever since the death of their son in United Kingdom (UK) on January 14. His friends and colleagues too are at a loss for words following his untimely demise.

Binay Kumar Pani, the 43-year-old IT engineer with HCL, died under mysterious circumstances shortly after being posted to Birmingham in a senior position.

His last rites were performed at Swargadwar here on Sunday.

Family members have cried foul, alleging that they were informed about it 72 hours after his death. They said that Binay had called home a day before his death and sounded normal. He had also called his brother-in-law in Malaysia, a day before. Both spoke for over an hour but there was no anomalies to establish that he was under any stress or tension.

Binay was reportedly unhappy over his posting in UK and had told his parents about it. He was to replace his colleague, a British gentleman, there. Binay was worried about this official’s intimidating nature.

One of his colleagues alleged negligence on the party of the UK police department and HCL, saying none of them showed the urgency or the seriousness in the matter. Apparently, the police refused to initiate an investigation until the cause of the death is established. It, however, remains unclear whether a formal complaint has been lodged into this incident.

“The interim report from the hospital also raises many questions as it says that the exact cause of the death can only be established six months later when the final report comes out,” he told Odisha Bytes. His organs have been retrieved for examination, he added.

Recounting the final hours before he met with his end, a close associate said he had dinner with his landlord and an Afghan national, who was the landlord’s friend at his Birmingham home. He was fine till then.

Binay started complaining about uneasiness after they had left and he called back the landlord’s friend. The medics attended to him early at 1.30 on January 14 and administered some medicine for mild fever. In the morning, Binay called up office saying he had high fever. He called an ambulance himself and had got admitted to Walgrave Hospital. Couple of hours later, he died. Three days later, on January 17, the British gentleman announced about his death at the office. He was the only person who checked with the hospital and spoke to the doctors.

Reactions from HCL India office is awaited. Odisha Bytes is on course to reach out the Indian Embassy in London.

Events before and after Binay died on January 14 at Walgrave Hospital, Birmingham, as told by his close associates:

1. January 11&12: Normal days for Binay. He had conversation with friends and family who couldn’t notice any abnormalities in health nor he reported any problems with health or any mental distress.

2. Jan 13 (11 AM): Binay cooked chicken and rice for his friends. Everything was normal.

3. Jan 13 (3 PM – 4 PM): Binay spoke with his brother in law, who lives in Malaysia for 1 hour. Both share a deep relationship and that conversation didn’t indicate any anomalies. Binay was brimming with energy and was in a jovial mood.

4. Jan 13 (9 PM to 10:30 PM): His landlord and the friend of his landlord came to his house and had dinner with him. From the statements of these 2 people it appeared that Binay was fine until then.

5. Jan 13 (11:30 PM): Binay didn’t feel well and called the friend of his landlord who had left hour ago. Binay told him to get some medicine on his way. Binay’s roommate, an employee of HCL, was on leave and gone home to India.

6. Jan 14 (00:15 AM): The friend of his landlord came back and called an ambulance. Medics in the ambulance checked Binay’s standard parameters as per their procedures and found everything normal other than the elevated body temperature. They gave Binay some medicine and left around 1.30 AM. Before leaving, the friend of Binay’s landlord told him to keep the house doors open in case the ambulance comes again, they can straight go to his bedroom, which was upstairs.

7. Jan 14 (10:00 AM:) Binay sent a voice mail to his manager, (the same person described earlier) and told him that he can’t come to office as he is having high fever.

8. Jan 14th 10:30 AM: Binay called an ambulance and went on to get admitted in Walgrave Hospital.

9. Jan 14th 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM: Binay died within 2 hours of getting admitted. ( Binay’s wallet was not with him in the hospital. He left it at home. It is highly unlikely as a habit of Binay to leave his wallet behind. This might also mean that he was not in his senses while he boarded the ambulance)

10. Jan 14th: Nobody from HCL looked for Binay or checked on him, even after he complained of high fever.

11. Jan 15: Nobody from HCL cared to look for Binay even after 24 hours of absence.

12. Jan 16: HCL still didn’t look for Binay even on the 3rd day of disappearance.

13. Jan 16 (10 AM): 16th is the birthday of Binay’s daughter and it is extremely uncharacteristic of Binay to miss calling home on this day. His wife kept calling him but the calls went to voice mail. Finally, she called up to HCL people at 10 AM UK time. Even after this call from family, HCL didn’t lodge a police complaint throughout the day.

14. Jan 16 evening: Binay’s family friends in UK went to the police station and filed a missing person complaint.

15. Jan 17: The manager ( same person as told above) had a meeting with the hospital authorities and discussed in details about the cause of death. He also identified the body of Binay.

16. Jan 17: The manager came back to his office and declared the death of Binay before the HCL employees. He told everyone that the cause of death was normal. It appeared as if everyone at HCL was instructed not to share any information with family and friends.

17. Jan 17: HCL HR manager even didn’t share the contact number or address of the landlord of Binay, initially.

18. Jan 24: After much delay finally the autopsy report came out, which didn’t mention anything about the cause of death. The UK authorities have taken samples from Binay’s organs to conduct further tests to establish the reason of death. Only an interim death certificate has been provided to the family as of now.

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