Five Indian celebrities whose untimely deaths sparked controversies

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Five Indian celebrities whose untimely deaths sparked controversies

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Over the years, Bollywood has seen its fair share of tragedies that come hand in hand with fame like a coin with two sides.


On August 23, Sonali Phogat, who found fame on TikTok and Big Boss 14, was brought dead to the St Anthony Hospital in Goa. The cause was given as a suspected heart attack. On Thursday, Goa Police pressed a charge of murder against two associates of BJP leader Sonali Phogat after a post-mortem report mentioned that there were “multiple blunt force injuries” on her body.


Let’s look at some of the most controversial deaths of Indian celebrities:


1) Sushant Singh Rajput:


Rajput’s name ought to come first. When India was reeling under the first wave of Covid-19, the controversy after his death gave India a perspective, which is all that glitters is not gold, especially the glitzy world of Bollywood.


On June 14, 2020, Rajput was found dead in his Mumbai home. He had reportedly shown signs of clinical depression and was suffering from bipolar disorder. According to the postmortem report, the cause of death was “asphyxia due to hanging” and is a “clear case of suicide”. On July 25, Rajput’s family lodged an FIR in Patna, where his father lives, accusing Rhea Chakraborty and five others of abetment of suicide.


On July 31, Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a case to investigate the money laundering of Rajput’s money from his bank accounts by Chakraborty, her parents and associates. Later in August, the Supreme Court of India allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation to take control of the investigation and ordered to look into any future cases registered in relation to Rajput’s death. Later, the Narcotics Control Bureau also filed a case to investigate drug peddling, based on phone chats forwarded to it by ED during its investigation.


2) Sridevi

Her death was initially treated as another internet hoax, but soon, her untimely demise was a topic of many prime time debates.


The recipient of five Filmfare Awards and a renowned superstar, Sridevi, died at the age of 54 on February 24, 2018. At first, her brother in-law and actor Sanjay Kapoor announced that the cause of death was a cardiac arrest, but later the case was transferred to Dubai Public Prosecution by Dubai Police, where forensic department revealed that the cause of death was “accidental drowning”. The toxicology report later also revealed that traces of alcohol were found in her body, and water was found in her lungs.


Her funeral was estimated to have attracted the fourth-highest number of mourners, after Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna in India from the Hindi film industry.


3) Parveen Babi

The first Bollywood star to grace the cover of Time Magazine in 1976, was found dead in her home on January 22, 2005.


Prior to her death, the actress had been living an isolated life for many years. Nobody knows for certain whether she committed suicide or if she died a natural death. A post-mortem report suggested that she might have starved to death.


Following her death, chaos erupted when various distant relatives filed petitions with the high court regarding the will of her property which had been lying in the locker of a Junagadh bank, executed jointly by actor and friend Murad Khan Babi. The will stated that 70 per cent of her property was to be put in a trust in her name to help poor members of the Babi family. About 20 per cent was pledged to Murad Khan Babi, for being “a guiding force”, and 10 per cent was to be given to Christian missionary funds.


4) Divya Bharti

1990s was the promising decade in Bollywood, with an influx of many talented people making their debut in the industry. One of them was Bharti. Her career was going smooth, she was becoming the next big thing, but her destiny had something else planned. In the late evening hours of April 5, 1993, 19-year-old Bharti fell from the balcony window of her fifth-floor apartment in Tulsi Buildings, Andheri West in Bombay.


While some claimed it was an accidental death, some speculate it was a murder. Divya was allegedly married to famous producer Sajid Nadiadwala and some claim that her death had a lot to do with her marriage. In 1998 after five years, the police even closed the investigation, but nothing was revealed.


5) Jiah Khan

The 25-year-old starlet committed suicide on June 3, 2013 in Mumbai. Later, a six-page hand-written note was found at her residence by her sister, allegedly addressed to Khan’s boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi. The note reportedly indicates that Khan planned to end her life. Pancholi, who lived with Khan, was taken into police custody during the investigation.


In August 2016, the CBI ruled out murder in the case. As per its investigations, the cause of Khan’s death was ‘suicide by hanging’. Khan’s mother, Rabia, independently hired British forensics expert Jason Payne-James, who concluded in a 2016 report that “Khan’s hanging was staged and the marks on her face and neck indicate it was not simply suicide.”



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