Eminent industrialist Rahul Bajaj dies at 83

President Kovind and PM Modi expressed grief at the demise of Bajaj and recalled his contributions to the world of industry

Mumbai: Veteran industrialist and head of the Bajaj Group, Rahul Bajaj, passed away on Saturday at the age of 83. Bajaj, who had pneumonia and a heart problem, was admitted to the Ruby Hall Clinic a month ago and breathed his last at 2.30 pm on Saturday. The Maharashtra government announced a state funeral for him.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray among other prominent figures offered their condolences over the death of Bajaj, who was the chairman of Bajaj Group for four decades. He had resigned from that post in April last year and was appointed the firm's Chairman Emeritus for five years.

A statement shared by the Bajaj group read, "It is with deep sorrow that I inform you about the passing away of Shri Rahul Bajaj, husband of the late Rupa Bajaj and father of Rajiv/Deepa, Sanjiv/Shefali and Sunaina/Manish. He passed away on the afternoon of 12th February, 2022, in the presence of his closest family members.”

The Bajaj group also said that the last rites would be performed on Sunday at Pune's Vaikunth Crematorium.

Known to call a spade a spade, Rahul Bajaj, who was a recipient of Padma Bhushan, was one of the most respected businessmen in India. He also served as a Rajya Sabha MP from 2006-10.

Rahul Bajaj often spoke out against curbs on freedom and in November 2019, at an event where home minister Amit Shah was present, the veteran industrialist spoke about the government's "stifling of criticism", among other things.

"This environment of fear, it's definitely on our minds. You (the government) are doing good work; and despite that, we don't have the confidence that you'll appreciate criticism," he had said.

Born on June 10, 1938, he had a BA (Honours) degree in economics from the University of Delhi, a law degree from Mumbai University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Rahul Bajaj took charge of the Bajaj Group in 1965 and it was under his leadership that the company's Bajaj Chetak scooter became an aspirational symbol for the Indian middle class, and the ad jingle "Humara Bajaj" held a happy promise of a better future.

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