Rohina Bhandari, 49, a senior executive with a New York-based equity firm, who died last week in an attack by tiger shark during a dive while on a holiday in Costa Rica, was the granddaughter of former top police official of erstwhile Madras, S Balakrishna Shetty, who also reportedly served in Intelligence Bureau after Independence.
Rohina, who went to Sophia High School and Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru left the city nearly 30 years ago but stayed in touch with friends she had made here.
Many of her close friends, who are now established restaurateurs, designers, real estate developers and socialites, have called her death a personal loss. Several members of the extended Bhandari family based in Bengaluru, including Rohina’s first cousins, were set to leave on Tuesday for New York, where she lived alone.
Daughter of A K Bhandari, a coffee planter who was associated with the erstwhile Consolidated Coffee Ltd — now Tata Coffee — Rohina was described as a “beautiful, happy-go-lucky and very warm person who was a great friend,’’ by a Bengaluru-based designer who studied with her at Sophia College in Mumbai in the 1990s.
“Her death is a personal loss for all of us who knew her from her days in India. I used to talk to her sometimes but the last time we met was probably three years ago. We had good memories from our days in hostel in Mumbai,’’ said the designer, who did not want to be named.
According to her LinkedIn page, Rohina held a Master’s degree in business management from Asian Institute of Management, Hong Kong, and had won an award during her MS in finance at the George Washington University. In her last job, Rohina was a senior director at Wall Street investment firm WL Ross and Co LLC, a firm associated with US president Donald Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.
Rohina’s brother Nithin is a renowned orthopaedic surgeon in Bengaluru, while her aunts and cousins run businesses here.
Shortly after her death, the Bhandari family in Bengaluru put out an obituary in a local paper on December 3.
“I am very saddened by her death and would not like to talk about this loss. We are going to New York today for her funeral,’’ said a first cousin of Rohina, who is a businesswoman and a socialite in Bengaluru.
She said Rohina’s maternal grandfather S Balakrishna Shetty was the former Inspector General of Police of erstwhile Madras state who commissioned a book capturing the history of police in Madras in 1959. He also reportedly served in Intelligence Bureau.