Monday, Jul 08, 2002
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By Our Staff Correspondent
The body of Dhirubhai Ambani, founder-chairman, Reliance Group, being taken inside the Chandanwadi Crematorium in Mumbai on Sunday evening, with his sons, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani, as the front pall bearers. The President, K.R. Narayanan, and the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, led the nation in mourning the death of the business tycoon. Dhirubhai Ambani died on Saturday night. Photo: Vivek Bendre
Mr. Ambani had suffered a brain stroke on June 24 and a subsequent heart attack on June 25, following which he was put on life support systems at the hospital. The end came at 11.50 p.m. when his immediate family members were at his side.
The funeral cortege which left his residence at Cuffe Parade in south Mumbai at 4.30 p.m. today, took more than an hour to traverse the two-kilometre distance to the crematorium as crowds thronged the streets in their thousands to get a final glimpse.
Earlier during the day, the body was kept at the basement of his residence, `Sea Wind' to enable friends, admirers, shareholders, politicians and industry leaders to pay their last respects. There was a steady stream of visitors and among the thousands of well-wishers who turned out to pay their last respects, a virtual who's-who of policy-makers and corporate czars were also present. The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Vijay Goel, placed a wreath on the body of the deceased industrialist on behalf of the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee. Mr. Goel said his life would be known as a success story of a person who never forgot his past despite reaching towering heights.
The Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, flew to Mumbai, cutting short his Gujarat tour and said Ambani was the embodiment of initiative, enterprise and determination. "He was one of the greatest achievers in the country and would remain an inspiration for others. ''
Among the dignitaries who came to pay their last respects were the former prime minister, Deve Gowda, the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, the Minister of State for Tourism, Vinod Khanna, the Samajwadi Party leaders, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Amar Singh, the Shiv Sena chief, Balasaheb Thackeray, the Nationalist Congress Party leader, Sharad Pawar, industrialists, Ratan Tata, M.S. Banga, Adi Godrej, MPs Praful Patel, Shabana Azmi and Murli Deora. Also among the visitors were film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar and other celebrities from the film and media world.
The Maharashtra Governor, P.C. Alexander, said, "Mr. Ambani was a star which rose on the horizon of Indian industry three decades ago and remained on top till the end by virtue of his ability to dream big and translate it into reality.''
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