In a dramatic twist to her sudden death, the Dubai government said on Monday that the legendary actress died of ‘accidental drowning’ in the hotel bathtub after losing consciousness.
The Dubai government said in a tweet that the police have transferred the case to the "Dubai Public Prosecution" which will carry out regular legal procedures followed in such cases.
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"Following the completion of post mortem analysis, Dubai police headquarters today stated that the death of the Indian actress Sridevi occurred due to drowning in her hotel apartment's bath tub following loss of consciousness," the Dubai government's media office said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Khaleej Times reported that the dead body will not be embalmed on Monday. This means that the mortal remains are likely to return Mumbai before tomorrow.
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The autopsy report ruled out the earlier assumption of cardiac arrest behind the death, and also indicated towards dismissal of possibility of any foul play.
However, the revelation has also led to delay in repatriation of her body back home in India, which was earlier expected Monday afternoon.
Official sources said that Dubai police which earlier gave clearance to the repatriation process, is now awaiting clearance from the Prosecution Magistrate.
Maintaining that the Embassy and Consulate are working closely with the authorities here to expedite the return of Sridevi's body, Indian envoy to the UAE Navdeep Suri told PTI that they have been told that the Dubai police can release it only after receiving another "clearance".
However, Suri did not say what type of "clearance" was required. "It is their internal process. We do not know."
Asked when Sridevi's body can be flown out, he said, it was difficult to give any timeline as the UAE authorities were doing their process.
The Dubai government's media office said on Twitter, "Following the completion of post mortem analysis, Dubai police headquarters today stated that the death of the Indian actress Sridevi occurred due to drowning in her hotel apartment's bath tub following loss of consciousness."
It is not clear what caused Sridevi, 54, to lose consciousness, and whether the initial report of her death due to cardiac arrest still holds. Her death, which was first reported at around 3 a.m. on Sunday in India, sent shock waves across the country with those who knew her at a loss to explain how she could have suffered cardiac arrest at such a young age.
Meanwhile, the Dubai Police began investigation into the death case, and questioned Sridevi’s husband Boney Kapoor. It also questioned the hotel staff and examined the CCTV footage of the hotel.
The latest report of accidental drowning only deepens the mystery surrounding her death. Her family has not commented beyond their initial statement yesterday to announce the death, and has requested the media to not contact them as they deal with the tragedy.
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Sridevi is survived by her husband, film-maker Boney Kapoor and two daughters.
The Dubai-based Gulf News said in a report that the actor was under the influence of alcohol. She fell into the bathtub and drowned, it added. However, this could not be independently confirmed.
Gulf News also attached a copy of the UAE government's forensic report on its Twitter handle. The report, citing accidental drowning as the cause of death, has a stamp of the "Ministry of Health UAE" and the director of preventive medicine, Dubai, Dr Sami Wadie.
The report mentions the actor's full name, "Sreedevi Boney Kapoor Ayyappan", her passport number, date of the incident (February 24, 2018) and cause of death.
"The investigation is still going on to determine the circumstances surrounding the accident as the forensic report only says that she drowned," Gulf News quoted an official as saying.
Her body has been sent for embalming, the newspaper said. It is not clear when the body will be brought back to India.
Sridevi was in Dubai for a family wedding, and had stayed back after the ceremonies. Her husband had flown back to Mumbai with their younger daughter Khushi, but he had returned to Dubai to surprise her, according to Khaleej Times.
He was reportedly in the room when Sridevi went to the bathroom to get ready for a dinner, according to Khaleej Times. It said Kapoor discovered her unconscious in the bathtub filled with water. She was rushed to the hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.
In Mumbai today, many Bollywood celebrities visited the home of actor Anil Kapoor, the brother of Boney Kapoor. Sridevi's two daughters, Khushi and upcoming actor Jahnvi are staying at the house.
Among those who visited to condole Sridevi's death were Farah Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Tabu, Saroj Khan, Rekha, Rani Mukherji, Karan Johar, Manish Malhotra and Aumpam Kher.
Police officials at Anil Kapoor's house said as many as 150 people from Karnataka came to pay homage to Sridevi, while another group from Telangana gathered outside the actor's Lokhandwala residence. Fans from Rajasthan and other parts of India had also arrived.
At Kapoor's house, police have increased security and cordoned off the area to keep fans at a distance.