Even as friends, family, and well-wishers bade their final farewell to legendary singer Manna Dey, who was cremated at the Hebbal crematorium here on Thursday afternoon, there was speculation about why Mr. Dey’s family did not perform his last rites in West Bengal from where he hailed.
While many fans rued the lack of arrangements made by the Karnataka government, Mr. Dey’s family maintained that they were adequate. Gyan Ranjan Dey, Mr. Dey’s son-in-law, told The Hindu that it was the singer’s wish to be cremated at the same place as his wife, Sulochana, who died in January 2012.
At Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bangalore, where his body was kept for the public to pay their last respects, MP from West Bengal Kalyan Banerjee, who was here representing the West Bengal government, was seen handing over the phone to Sumita Dey, Manna Dey’s younger daughter. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was reportedly on the other end.
However, Ms. Sumita declined the West Bengal government’s offer to conduct the singer’s last rites.
Asked about the reason, her husband, Mr. Gyan Ranjan, said: “The Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) did request to take the body there, but the request came too late. The Karnataka government planned much more than what we expected after just one call at 5 a.m. We say sorry to the Chief Minister and the people of West Bengal for not taking his body there.”
Case against nephew
Ms. Sumita, however, was less diplomatic. Referring to the case in which the singer moved the Kolkata High Court against his nephew for allegedly siphoning off cash and jewellery from his bank locker, Ms. Sumita was quoted by PTI as saying: “I pleaded with Ms. Banerjee to help solve a case involving my cousin who siphoned off cash and jewellery from my father’s bank locker. This would have helped me foot the large bills of Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital. I pleaded with the government and it did not recognise our pleas. In that case, how shall I honour her words?”
“For five months and ten days my father suffered and yet she (Mamata Banerjee) did not come forward [to help] at that time. Even the [Kolkata] Police Commissioner did not come forward at such a time after repeated requests and pleadings, then how do I treat this?”
The singer’s elder daughter Shuroma, who is in the U.S., was unable to come as she is said to be unwell.