Divya Bharti: A death untold
Today we zero in on the topic whether Divya Bharti's death was an accident, suicide or an act of murder.
Conspiracy theories continue to float around her death even after two decades. So was she really pushed out of her balcony?
According to the official documents associated with the case, three people were with her at the time of the incident. They were her dress designer Neeta Lulla, her husband Dr Shyam (a psychiatrist) and her maid Amrita.
Official records also state that her maid was very attached to her because she had been taking care of Divya since her birth. Amrita went into acute depression after the incident and stopped interacting with people. Police records state that Amrita suffered a massive heart attack soon after and succumbed to it. Amrita died within 30 days of Divya Bharti's demise. This is the reason why Amrita could not be grilled by the police.
Other than them, there were three others who were grilled by the police — her husband Sajid Nadiadwala, her mother Bharti and her brother Kunal. All the three were not with her at the time of the incident.
The government officials who took part in the investigations included Inspector J G Jadhav of Versova Police station (the investigating officer of the case) and the Chief Medical Officer of Cooper Hospital, Dr Tripathy (who signed the death certificate). Other than these people, nobody exactly had any first-hand knowledge of what might have happened to Divya Bharti that night.
We did manage to get some first-hand information about what happened on that fateful night but people spoke to us on conditions of anonymity. Based on the conversations, we will try to recreate the chain of incidents that ultimately snatched Divya Bharti away from all of us.
That dark night
Date: April 5, 1993, Time 9 pm, Place: 5th floor, Tulsi Apartments, Versova, Andheri West, Mumbai
Just a few hours back, Divya had gone to Neptune Apartments in Bandra West with a broker and finalised a large flat that she wanted to buy. Considering how hard it was to get a good flat in Mumbai, Divya was very happy that day and was constantly describing her ‘nice four-bedroom apartment’ to her brother Kunal, whom she loved dearly. Kunal left for some work soon after.
She had just returned from Chennai after a shoot and on the same night, Divya was supposed to fly out to Hyderabad for another shoot. She wanted to postpone her Hyderabad visit as she had to finalise the apartment. That day, Divya was roaming around with a bandage on her left foot and had informed her producers that she was injured (and hence she won't be able to report for the shoot). She told everybody she will go to Hyderabad a day later.
She soon got a phone call, which informed her that she needed to meet Neeta Lulla and her husband who were coming down to see her at the Versova flat. It might be pertinent to mention here that this flat didn't belong to Divya and was registered in somebody else's name.
Divya was also supposed to go on a long outdoor schedule to Mauritius to shoot for Sajid's film Andolan. Neeta was supposed to make the costumes for the film and after the schedule, Divya was supposed to move into her new apartment. So, everything was going just as planned and naturally, Divya was very excited that night.
Neeta and Dr Shyam Lulla arrived around 10 pm and all of them sat down in the living room, chatting. The TV was on and Divya had two alcohol bottles on the centre table -- one was a Mauritian sugarcane wine and the other was a bottle of Black Label whisky. The whisky bottle had been opened, while the wine bottle was intact.
Her maid Amrita was in the living room and Divya was chatting with her. Amrita soon went into the kitchen to fry munchies to go with the alcohol. She was talking to Divya all the while. Divya then gravitated towards the window while still talking to her maid loudly who was in the kitchen now.
Neeta and her husband were watching 'something interesting' on the video player (those days there used to be VHS cassettes to play videos) and hence, were not taking much part in the conversation that was going on between Divya and Amrita.
The final moments
There was no balcony in the living room and it had an open window. Though all other windows in the building had grills, that window was open. There is a car parking slot just below the window but that day there were no cars parked below.
When nobody was looking Divya climbed out of the window and landed on the narrow ledge below it. The ledge was less than 12 inches wide and it was impossible to keep your balance unless you hold on to the window frame.
She landed on the ledge with her back towards the living room. She then tried to turn around to hold the window frame. It was while she tried turning around on the ledge (and extended her hand to hold the window frame) that she slipped.
Divya fell with a loud thud on the concrete below the window. Because she was facing her room (as she was trying climb back up), she landed on her back. The accident occurred in a matter of three minutes.
Everybody heard the thud and came running downstairs to find her in a pool of blood. She was alive on her way to the hospital, but her pulse rate started falling rapidly soon afterwards.
She died at the emergency department of Cooper Hospital. The immediate cause of death was heavy internal bleeding due to the injury at the back of her head. Her skull had several fractures.
Now, the unanswered question in front of the police was: How come she was allowed to get down on the ledge below the window? Interestingly, many of her close friends were not surprised on learning that she had climbed out of the window.
Her close friends later had told the police that Divya Bharti loved doing these stunts. The idea of cheating death gave her a strange kick. There were numerous stories of her trying dangerous stunts at outdoor shooting schedules. She somehow loved the idea of flirting with death.
She was a 19-year-old girl and was going the same problems that a girl of her age would perhaps go through. That included boyfriend problems and the usual rebellious attitude against her parents. But this is for sure that she was not going through any emotional stress that prompted her to end her life.
You can draw your own conclusions now.
So yes, I am debunking all the conspiracy theories and saying that it was just an unfortunate accident.
Before we go, here's another interview of her parents years after her death where they spoke about her with great difficulty. I found the interview touching.
The earlier post on Divya Bharti -> The myths about Divya Bharti
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