UK victim of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack launches legal action against Taj hotel owners

Archana Venkatraman

London resident Will Pike, who has been paralysed during the 26/11 terror attack at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel, will go to London High Court on December 2, to argue that Indian Hotels Company Ltd – owners of the hotel -- attempted to prevent his legal case against them being heard in a UK court.

Taj Mahal Palace hotel during 26-11 mumbai terror attack
Image: YouTube still

The 33-year-old Briton was at Tata Group’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai with his girlfriend Kelly Doyle on 26/11 at the time of the terror attack in 2008. The 2008 Mumbai attacks killed 164 and injured 308 people. Seven other Britons were injured during the attack.

London resident Pike fell from his third floor room in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel while trying to escape the building during the attack. Pike has been paralysed since and is wheel-chair-bound as the fall injured his back, pelvis and leg and fractured both his left wrist and right elbow

Pike is suing the Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company for negligence and lack of security in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel despite warnings and terror attack alerts. Taj Mahal hotel was one of the 12 spots of co-ordinated shooting and bombing attacks of 26/11.

Pike claimed that there were very limited security checks and only one metal detector and cursory screening of guests at Taj Mahal Palace hotel at the time of the attack.

Leigh Day, Pike’s London based lawyers are bringing a civil claim for damages against the Indian Hotels Company Ltd. They allege the owners of the hotel did little to provide security for residents despite several warnings that an attack on the hotel was imminent. 

According to Leigh Day, the case should be heard in the UK, where Pike lives and where the Indian Hotels Company Ltd has a substantial business presence – it operates the Crowne Plaza, London St James’ Hotel and the Taj Suites around Buckingham Palace. 

“Trying to fight the largest corporate group in India through the Indian Courts is an exercise in futility,” said Russell Levy, Pike’s lawyer. 

“The Court in Mumbai simply isn’t geared up to deal with a claim of this kind. It would take up to 25 years to pursue this claim through the Indian Courts rather than in England, where it will take about two years. 

Pike’s legal action against Tata Group comes exactly five years after the blasphemous terror attack of 26/11. India remembers the innocent victims and the brave police officers who risked their lives to fight the terrorists including Ajmal Kasab. 

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