Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor died of accidental drowning in her hotel room bathtub while under the influence of alcohol, a forensic report revealed on Monday.
Traces of alcohol were found in the body of the 54-year-old actress who lost consciousness before drowning in her bathroom at Emirates Towers hotel in Dubai on Saturday night, the report said.
Dubai Police released the report to her family and an Indian Consulate representative after completing the postmortem examination the day before.
The case has now been transferred to Dubai Public Prosecution for legal action.
A no-objection must now be obtained from prosecution before the body can be handed over to the film star’s family.
According to police sources, investigations are still under way to determine the remaining circumstances related to her death as the forensic report only confirmed the cause of her death.
“In such situations, the case gets referred to the public prosecution to initiate an investigation and ensure that no crime has taken place," said Hassan Mohsen Elhais, legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.
"This is also to confirm that the death was actually due to natural causes or accidental,” he said.
“The autopsy has already been carried out in the morgue. Once this is done there is no need for the body to remain there. The family of the deceased can obtain a letter from the prosecution because the case was referred to the prosecution.
Although the postmortem was completed on Sunday, the release of the body was delayed because police required further test reports.
“Normally in such cases it takes time for the body to be released because the death happened outside the hospital. Police have to complete their investigations, wait for test reports and only then will the death certificate be issued,” said an official, who did not want to be named
Sridevi’s family are in Dubai awaiting the body to be handed over.
Before the case was referred to the public prosecution, the family and Indian officials had anticipated that the official death certificate would be issued on Monday.
As per procedure, once the police issue a no-objection certificate to Al Baraha Hospital, Preventive Medicine Department, staff then release the official death certificate.
Separate no-objection certificates are then addressed to the airport for transportation of the body and the mortuary for embalming.
“We are waiting clearance for the mortal remains to go for embalming. We have been speaking to the Dubai Police and they are hopeful that mortal remains will be handed over soon,” said Mr Vipul, Indian consul general in Dubai.
Sridevi, one of the Indian movie industry’s top actresses, had initially been suspected to have died of a massive cardiac arrest.
The movie star was staying at the hotel in Dubai with her family after attending a family wedding in Ras Al Khaimah.
Her husband, Boney Kapoor, their daughter Khushi and her brother-in-law Sanjay Kapoor are among relatives staying on in Dubai for the body to be handed over.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, hundreds of Sridevi’s fans gathered outside her home.
Some left flowers, movie posters and lit candles to show their affection for the actress.
Sridevi’s friends and colleagues from the movie business visited the residence of her brother-in-law and actor Anil Kapoor to express their condolence.
The list of celebrities included actors Farhan Akhtar, Madhuri Dixit, Tabu, choreographer Saroj Khan and designer Manish Malhotra.
Boney Kapoor had earlier sent out a statement stating he and his daughters were “deeply bereaved and shocked with the untimely loss of Sridevi Kapoor".
Tributes to the Indian actress continue to flood social media websites, with fans from across the world recalling the roles Sridevi had in close to 300 movies.
One of India’s biggest stars, she was a lead actress in Bollywood through the 1970s and 1980s. After taking a break starting in 1997, she returned to the screen in 2012.
Sridevi was awarded a high civilian honour, the Padma Shri, by the Indian government in 2013 for her service to the film industry.