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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 9 December 2018

Sridevi's body and family land in India ahead of funeral after death in Dubai

The funeral will take place on Wednesday to allow some time for relatives, friends and fans of the actress time to mourn her death

The family of Indian movie star Sridevi who died in Dubai on Saturday night returned home to Mumbai with her body on Tuesday.

Dubai Prosecution closed the case after police ruled "accidental drowning" in a bath tub in a Dubai hotel room as the cause of death of the actress after she lost consciousness.

The embalming process was completed in the Muhaisnah centre of the emirate after authorities approved the release of the body and cleared its handover to her family.

Sridevi’s husband and movie producer Boney Kapoor and her brother-in-law Sanjay Kapoor were among those accompanying the body on a private jet to Mumbai charted by Indian industrialist Anil Ambani.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday afternoon to allow some time for relatives, friends and fans of the actress to mourn her death.

Earlier on Tuesday, Dubai Public Prosecution announced their "comprehensive investigation into the circumstances of her death" was complete.

“Dubai Public Prosecution stressed that all regular procedures followed in such cases have been completed," a statement from Dubai Media Office on Twitter read.

"As per the forensic report, the death of the Indian actress occurred due to accidental drowning following loss of consciousness. The case has now been closed.

The absence of foul play led police to conclude their investigations and the prosecution to close the case, experts said.

They said authorities followed regular procedures that required exhaustive and conclusive analysis.

“The prosecution's decision to hand over the body and close the case confirms that there are no suspicions of any criminal act or foul play and the death is entirely of natural causes. Legal procedures take time but the deceased being a celebrity made the press eager to know what had happened on-the-spot,” said Emirati lawyer Yousef Al Bahar.

The private jet carrying Sridevi's body and her family en route to Mumbai as of 7.30pm (UAE time). Courtesy flightradar24
The private jet carrying Sridevi's body and her family en route to Mumbai as of 7.30pm (UAE time). Courtesy flightradar24

Meanwhile, police said they recorded statements from Boney Kapoor and the hotel staff on Sunday as part of regular procedure the morning after the actress was discovered dead.

“All parties involved were called in to the police station to give their statements,” a Dubai Police official said.

“This is a normal procedure carried out by police to determine the circumstances related to the death of the actress.”

A police report released on Monday upon completion of the postmortem examination a day earlier showed that traces of alcohol were detected in the body of the actress, who was found dead in the bathroom of the Emirates Towers hotel room.

Dismissing media speculation about the cause of her death, officials in the UAE said standard protocol was adhered to regarding the investigation.

“Let’s be responsible. Our experience in similar cases tells us that it does take 2-3 days to complete processes,” tweeted Navdeep Suri, Indian ambassador to the UAE.

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“The media interest in (the) untimely demise of Sridevi is understandable. But the frenzy of speculation does not help.”

Sridevi was in the UAE with her family to attend the wedding celebrations of her nephew in Ras Al Khaimah on February 19 and 20 after which the family checked into the Dubai hotel.

The much loved Bollywood actress had starred in about 300 Indian movies, and tributes recalling her contribution to cinema have been posted on social media by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bollywood actresses such as Priyanka Chopra and Madhuri Dixit.

Fans gathered outside the airport in Mumbai when news of the family’s return home spread. Others congregated near her residence lighting candles and laying flowers in readiness for her return home.

People can pay their last respects from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday at a sports club in Andheri, a Mumbai suburb, according to a statement from the family.

Media were informed that they too could offer condolences “provided camera, recording devices are left outside the venue” of the Celebration Sports Club in Andheri.

The body will be transported in a procession from the club to a crematorium at 2pm.

The last rites will begin from 3.30pm at the Vile Parle Seva Samaj Crematorium and Hindu Cemetery in Vile Parle, Mumbai, the statement read.