Air crash victims' kin 'disgusted' with relief negotiations

Accuse Air India Solicitors of serving the interests of insurance companies

Families of the aircrash victims say that they find themselves in an awkward situation to bargain with the panel over the compensation, with the wounds of losing their near and dear ones still fresh.

“With the insurance company and the legal advisors according priority to profit, we feel as if participating in an auction where they are out to convince us for the  lowest bid,” said Abbonu Maddadka, who lost his sister and her three children in the mishap.

He alleged that Mulla and Mulla chief Nanavati was monopolising the discussion, leaving absolutely no room for others to present their version. “I and over 100 relatives of the victims have decided not to have any further deliberation with the legal advisors. We want to have discussions only with Air India directly because we realise that Nanavati is only trying to help the insurance companies to save money,” says Maddadka adding that the panel insists they speak in English.

“We are not well-versed in English and this leads to a lot of confusion. Further, the panel also tries to manipulate our advocates by asking them to convince us to settle with what they have to give,” he added.

Guidelines

 Claiming that according to Montreal Convention guidelines each victim’s family was entitled to a compensation of Rs 76 lakh, Maddadka questioned the need of “negotiations” even though the law was on their side.

He said he was asked to accept Rs five lakh as compensation to each child. When he disagreed, they went on increasing the compensation by Rs five lakh, finally closing the talks at Rs 25 lakh. Maddadka further said the panel fixed Rs 30 lakh as compensation for his 32-year-old sister who perished in the crash. When questioned on the quantum, Nanavati said that was what she was entitled to, being a housewife.

“Does that mean that my sister and her children’s lives are less valuable than the life of an elite engineer or a doctor,” Maddadka questioned with tears welling up in his eyes.
Commenting on the decision of Abbonu and others to boycott talks with Mullah and Mullah, Mangalore Aircrash Victims’ Family Association President M Mohammad Beary said that the Association will soon hold a meeting in this regard and take a decision.

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