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Hearing of UK victim of Mumbai attacks case begins

The two-day hearing of a case against the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai brought by a British victim of the November 2008 attacks began at the high court in London on Monday, his legal team said.

world Updated: Dec 02, 2013 21:52 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar

The two-day hearing of a case against the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai brought by a British victim of the November 2008 attacks began at the high court in London on Monday, his legal team said.

Will Pike, 33, who was paralysed during the attacks, is taking legal action against the Indian Hotels Company Ltd, a part of the Tata Group, for allegedly preventing the case being heard in a UK court.

The arguments, which began on Monday, will continue till Tuesday.

Pike was paralysed when he fell nearly 50 feet, breaking his back, pelvis and leg and fracturing both his left wrist and right elbow in a bid to escape the terrorists as they went through the hotel shooting residents and setting fires.

Leigh Day, his London-based lawyer, have brought the civil claim for damages against the Indian Hotels Company Ltd on the ground that the owners of the hotel did little to provide security for residents despite several warnings that an attack on the hotel was imminent.

Pike's lawyers argue that the case should be heard in the UK, where Pike lives and where the Indian Hotels Company Ltd has a substantial business presence, based around the Crowne Plaza London St James' Hotel and the Taj Suites.

Pike's lawyer, Russell Levy, alleged that trying to fight the largest corporate group in India through the Indian courts is "an exercise in futility". The hearing will be in the Royal Courts of Justice on 2 December, his lawyers said in a statement.

Levy said: "Mr Pike's only real hope of seeing justice is in a UK court. The court in Mumbai simply isn't geared up to deal with a claim of this kind. We estimate that 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".