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Tech CEO dies in horrific accident at company party in front of 700 people – details

Vistex CEO Sanjay Shah succumbed to his injuries, while company President Raju Datla is in critical condition

Vistex CEO and Chief Architect Sanjay Shah
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
January 22, 2024
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Sanjay Shah, the CEO and founder of Chicago-based tech company Vistex, tragically passed away during a horrific accident at a company party in India.

The incident took place at the company's silver jubilee celebration at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, India on Thursday, January 18, which was attended by nearly 700 people, including company employees, their friends, and family.

The 56-year-old Shah and the company's president, Raju Datla, intended to kick off the grand celebration by arriving in a large mechanical cage that used machinery to glide in from the top of the stage.

Vistex CEO and Chief Architect Sanjay Shah© Vistex Inc.
Vistex CEO and Chief Architect Sanjay Shah

As music played in the background and fireworks went off, the cage was meant to lower the two down, but ended up snapping and tipping over instead, dropping the two men over 20 feet.

The two were immediately rushed to the hospital, where Shah, a native of Mumbai who had been living in Chicago, succumbed to his injuries and Datla remains in critical condition.

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Both Shah and Datla were based in the United States and had arrived in the South Indian city for the special event to celebrate with the employees of the Hyderabad branch. A video of the accident quickly went viral on social media.

Vistex president Raju Datla© Vistex Inc.
Vistex president Raju Datla

Police sub-inspector D Karnakar Reddy spoke with Indian publication The Indian Express about the incident, which he said was reported by one of the employees nearly an hour after it took place. The venue and its management team, he said, have been booked for negligence.

"It is a stunt usually seen during dance performances on stage," he told the outlet. "The 6mm iron cable used [to support the cage] snapped. We feel it was substandard and safety precautions were not in place but we will wait for a report from experts." 

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He continued: "We have booked the management of Ramoji Film City and others involved in the event. No arrests have been made so far and the investigation is on."

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Providing further details of the event as well, the police official said: "It was just the beginning of the event. The father, mother, wife and brothers of the deceased were present in the audience. Around 680 people from the Hyderabad branch were in the audience."

Shah founded Vistex, an enterprise resource planning solutions firm, in 1999 and moved to the United States over 20 years ago. An alum of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, he was also responsible for setting up the Vistex Foundation and the Vistex Institute for Executive Learning and Research at Lehigh.

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Vistex's official website says of Shah: "Under Sanjay’s leadership, Vistex has grown into a global organization dedicated to transforming how businesses across multiple industries bring their products and services to market by taking control of mission-critical processes."

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A glimpse of the company's headquarters in Chicago

Datla, meanwhile, had been with the company since 2000. He is described on their website as bringing "an extraordinary amount of focus, energy, and discipline to ensure that Vistex customers get the most value out of their technology investment."

Chicago-based CBS affiliate WBBM-TV reported that the Vistex flag in Barrington now sits at half-mast as a sign of mourning.

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