Upset that they had not been helped in bad times, the family of legendary playback singer Manna Dey on Thursday did not accept the request of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to bring his mortal remains to Kolkata for the last rites.

“I pleaded with Mamata 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 large bills of Narayana Hrudalaya hospital. I pleaded with (Mamata) government and it did not recognise our pleas. In that case, how shall I honour her words (to bring the body to Kolkata),” Dey’s daughter Shumita Deb said.

Ms. Shumita was speaking to reporters at Hebbal crematorium here where the last rites of Dey, who died in the early hours of today after being in and out of the hospital for more than five months, were performed.

The 94-year-old Dey had recently moved the Calcutta High Court for a direction to police to take steps against his nephew for allegedly siphoning off cash and jewellery from his bank locker. Dey had alleged his nephew had illegally taken Rs. 12 lakh in cash as well as jewellery and a watch worth Rs. 15 lakh from a bank locker.

“In such a scenario when she (Mamata) has not come forward or not even shown any condolence or any feelings for the family who were going through such a rough time... For five months and ten days, my father has suffered and yet she has not come forward at that time and neither the Police Commissioner came forward at such a time after repeated requests and pleadings, then how do I treat this?” said Deb.

She criticised the Kolkata Police Commissioner for not taking steps to solve the case involving her cousin in spite of her writing a letter to him.

“We are only asking for my father’s money. We are not asking any chanda (donation). My father had kept that money in good faith,” she said.

Asked if any Bollywood stars have been in touch with her, Deb said “plenty of them spoke to me and they included Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosale and Pandit Amjad Ali Khan.” Asked about the absence of Bollywood celebrities at the funeral, Ms. Shumita said “please remember this was done for my father. He was an extremely simple man and he had very high ideals in life.”


A regret that had a sour sideOctober 25, 2013