Saturday February 24
Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan tweets (in Hindi), “I don’t know why but I’m feeling some strange restlessness,” at around 10.15pm (UAE time) on Saturday night. Some 45 minutes later, Sridevi is found dead in the bathtub of her hotel room by her husband Boney Kapoor at Emirates Towers on Dubai’s Shaikh Zayed Road. The family is in UAE to attend her nephew Mohit Marwah’s wedding in Ras Al Khaimah. Boney and their daughters Jhanvi and Khushi leave Sridevi in Dubai to do some shopping ahead of Janhvi’s 21st birthday.
Boney however flies back to Dubai that night to surprise his wife and reaches the hotel at around 6.20pm. They chat for half an hour before making dinner plans. Sridevi then goes to take a bath and get ready and after 15-20 minutes, Boney calls out to her and gets no response. He tries the door to the bathroom, which is locked from the inside. After managing to get in, he finds her unresponsive in the bath at 11pm. He then calls friends to tell them she is dead.
Sunday February 25
News of Sridevi’s demise circulates on social media. Many think it is a hoax until her brother-in-law, actor Sanjay Kapoor, confirms the tragedy citing cardiac arrest as the cause of death. Sanjay has just flown back to India from Dubai when he hears the news. He immediately turns around and flies back to Dubai to be by his distraught elder brother Boney’s side. He states that she died sometime between 11pm and 11.30pm.
Tweets start flowing in from fellow stars a little after 1am, followed by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s tweet just before 6am. The investigation into her death begins at 2.30am when her body is transferred to Dubai Police morgue in Al Ghusais. Initial reports suggest her body will be flown home by Sunday evening, with Indian industrialist Anil Ambani, a friend of Boney and Sridevi, offering a private jet to transfer the body, but Dubai Police request more time to complete their investigation, pushing the possible repatriation to Monday.
Monday February 26
News breaks that the cause of death is a result of accidental drowning. Toxicology reports also reveal traces of alcohol in her body and water in her lungs. Dubai Police transfer the case to Dubai Public Prosecution to carry out “regular legal proceedings”, according to Dubai Media Office. India’s Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, earlier informs the Indian media that they had got clearance from Dubai authorities to release the body, however with “a new development” with the case being referred to Dubai Public Prosecution, the repatriation is left “open ended”, according to a diplomatic source. It later transpires that referring the case to Public Prosecution is a routine requirement before releasing the body. News then comes through that Boney has been taken to Bur Dubai Police Station for questioning. Police take his statement and he is allowed to return to his hotel room.
Sunday February 27
Arjun Kapoor, Boney’s son, flies into Dubai to be with his father. Just before 1pm, the Indian Consulate in Dubai tweets that Dubai Police have issued the necessary paperwork to hand Sridevi’s body over to the embalmers in Muhaisnah ahead of releasing her body for repatriation. The case is closed and Dubai Media Office tweets: “The Dubai Public Prosecution Office said the decision to release the body came after all the investigations and procedural matters followed in such incidents were completed, in order to determine all its circumstances and ensure that justice was done within the framework of the law.”
Sridevi’s body is embalmed by 3.15pm and transported to Dubai Airport for a 5.30pm flight to Mumbai, accompanied by her family including Boney Kapoor.
Compiled by Ashley Hammond, Chief Reporter