x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Indian film producer and family found dead in Dubai flat

The decomposing bodies of Santosh Kumar, his wife Manju Menon and their daughter Gauri were found in their apartment in Al Nahda on Tuesday morning when police forced open the front door after relatives had raised the alarm about their well-being.

The bodies of Santosh Kumar, his wife Manju Memon and their nine-year-old daughter, Gauri, were found in a Dubai flat. The couples’ wrists had been slashed. Gauri had been suffocated. Courtesy family and friends of Kumar family
The bodies of Santosh Kumar, his wife Manju Memon and their nine-year-old daughter, Gauri, were found in a Dubai flat. The couples’ wrists had been slashed. Gauri had been suffocated. Courtesy family and friends of Kumar family

DUBAI // An Indian film producer suffocated his daughter, aged 9, before he and his wife slit their wrists as they were unable to face mounting debts, police said on Wednesday.

The bodies of Santosh Kumar, wife Manju Menon and daughter Gauri were found in their Al Nahda flat on Tuesday morning. Police forced their front door after relatives reported concerns for the family, who were last seen on July 8.

Officers said the girl had been suffocated with a pillow. Her mother was on the bed and the father’s body was near by. Both had their wrists slashed, said Dubai Police CID chief Maj Gen Khalil Al Mansouri.

Police chief Maj Gen Khamis Al Muzeina said there was no suspicion of murder and the family’s financial problems may have led to their deaths.

Mr Kumar had written a suicide note in which he said where he had kept his wife and daughter’s passports, Gen Al Mansouri said.

Apart from his work in films, he also held a job at a maintenance firm and had bounced cheques in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, police said.

The apartment was locked from the inside, which also indicated suicide, police said.

Gen Al Mansouri said moves were being made to send the bodies home to India.

One of Mr Kumar’s friends said: “It is not something I can believe because he was such a jovial person. This is not something anyone expected would happen. He was not that kind of guy.”

Mr Kumar, a South Indian movie producer, was 51, while his wife was 41 and their daughter was in Grade 4 at Our Own English High School, Al Warqa.

Neighbours described Gauri as loving, bubbly and talkative.

Mr Kumar made Malayalam-language movies in his home state of Kerala and the family had lived in Dubai for five years after moving from Thrippunithura, a suburb of Kochi city.

He also had a business in scrap material and had told friends he was going to Abu Dhabi on July 9 to discuss a deal.

Aware of his financial problems, friends believed he stopped answering his phone last week because he needed time to clear his debts. Some believed he had left Dubai for another emirate or gone back to India to raise money.

But his relatives’ fears grew when almost a week passed without contact, so they reported it to police on Monday.

“Whenever they travel they let us know, so it was very strange when Santosh did not answer calls,” a friend said.

A relative said: “We were in contact with them twice a day and we met when we returned from vacation on July 7. He came over to my house on the 7th and they were on Facebook and Whatsapp with my wife.

“We planned to go to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday but dropped the plan. Then we wanted to go to Hatta on Wednesday but they didn’t answer the phone.

“From Wednesday onwards there was no news. That was not normal. They were so caring, especially his wife.”

Relatives in Dubai began receiving calls from family in India after the Kumars failed to responded to text messages and calls.

A relative said Mr Kumar recently sent him a picture of a Toyota Fortuner that he had bought.

“Nobody expected this,” the relative said. “We don’t know about any financial problems. He was an outspoken person but this was not something he would have talked to us about.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae