On Sunday, May 3rd, 2015, Parag Parikh, noted investor and co-founder of PPFAS Mutual Fund, was killed in a car accident in Omaha, Nebraska. Mumbai-based Parikh had gone to Omaha to attend the annual investor conference of Berkshire Hathaway, where people get a chance to interact with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
This story was full of inconsistencies and I felt like it deserved a closer look.
It is unclear whether this was his first time attending the conference. The Times of India states Parikh “was a regular at the conference” as does American Bazaar Online. Shailesh Shah, Parag’s brother-in-law, told the Herald-Tribune from Mumbai that the couple was on their first trip to Omaha, referring to Parag and his wife.
Parikh’s fund was not known to be holding Berkshire shares (as per latest disclosures), which is a requirement for one to be able to attend the corporation’s annual shareholder meeting in Omaha.
Jimmy A. Patel, CEO of India’s Quantum AMC Mutual Fund, said that Parikh “was one of the few investment experts who saw a potential in the direct-to-investor route of investing…He practiced good ethics in the business of fund management” and “would only invest in stocks whose managements treated minority shareholders well.” By all accounts, Mr. Parikh seems to have been well-known for being “a rare money manager who believes in doing the right things.”
According to television reports, four people including Parikh, his wife Geeta, Rajeev Thakkar, the chief investment officer of the fund house, and Raunak Onkar were travelling in a car which was in an accident involving a truck at an intersection. Parikh was pronounced dead after he was taken to a nearby hospital, while his wife was in critical condition.
According to this news report “the car crashed into a pickup truck, sending that truck into this power pole, the car, barely missing this home…” This contradicts other reports that “the car’s passenger side was struck by the pickup.” Another report states the resident of the house mentioned above claims “he was shaving when he felt and heard something slam into his house. He went outside and found that the Jetta had crashed into the southwest corner of his brick home. Damage appeared to be minor.”
Comparing news stories about the accident as well as accident-scene photos, it seems clear that the truck hit the side of the car, as you can see in the picture below. The truck ended up crashing into the light pole.
The intersection in which the accident took place appears to be very large, with a great deal of visibility in all directions.
Seems there was also an error in his obituary stating he was a resident of Omaha
I found it curious, and I have no earthly idea if this is standard practice, but why would a citizen of India in the US for a short trip to a conference be cremated here in the US? Maybe it’s just easier to fly back his ashes or there’s some religious formality involved. I just found this very strange. It could be absolutely normal, though, for all I know.
No charges were ultimately filed against either driver.
According to this site, Mrs. Geeta Parikh recuperated at a rehabilitation centre in Omaha, and then moved on to Boston. From there she was to return to Mumbai.