The West Bengal government on Wednesday paid tribute to singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK, with a gun salute at the Rabindra Sadan complex in south-central Kolkata.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee cut short her district tour and personally oversaw the arrangements for the departed singer, whom she referred to as a “very talented artiste”.
KK’s wife, son and daughter arrived at the Kolkata airport on Wednesday morning and headed straight to CMRI hospital, where his body was kept. The body was taken to SSKM Hospital for an autopsy in the family’s presence.
Show arranger and family friend Tochan Ghosh told The Telegraph on Wednesday that KK’s wife wanted to leave with the body soon after the post-mortem but could not turn down the chief minister’s request for a gun salute for the singer.
“She (KK’s wife) did not want to delay a moment after the formalities. But as the chief minister requested, she agreed to the gun salute,” Ghosh said.
The chief minister, who reached Rabindra Sadan at least 15 minutes before the arrival of KK’s body, oversaw the arrangements being made there.
Once the singer’s family arrived with the body, Mamata greeted KK’s wife with folded hands and spoke to her. Mamata placed a wreath on the coffin and then picked up another wreath and passed it on to KK’s wife.
As KK’s family members placed flowers on the coffin, one by one, Mamata gave some instructions to police commissioner Vineet Goyal, who was standing next to her.
The deputy commissioner of police, central, Rupesh Kumar, said an unnatural death case had been started.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee places a wreath on the coffin carrying the body of singer KK at Rabindra Sadan on Wednesday.Pradip Sanyal
An officer involved in the probe said KK reached Oberoi Grand around 9.15pm after the concert at Nazrul Mancha.
“He stopped twice in the lobby when some fans requested selfies. He obliged some but then refused. He and his secretary were in the elevator where he was seen leaning on the handrail,” the officer said.
In his room, he collapsed while trying to sit on a sofa.
“His face smashed against the ground. He suffered a forehead injury. He was unconscious and did not regain consciousness after that,” said a senior officer.
His secretary Hitesh Bhatt alerted the hotel staff.
“The hotel contacted their in-house doctor who suggested that instead of waiting for him to arrive, they immediately shift the singer to CMRI. They did not even wait for an ambulance and took KK to the hospital in their car,” said the officer.
They reached the hospital between 9.45pm and 10pm.
KK was declared “brought dead”.
The police said though they had not received any complaint from the family, they would examine and record statements of all people involved in KK’s event and his stay at the hotel.
Forensic officers have inspected KK’s room.
The wife of singer Rupankar Bagchi has lodged a complaint with Tallah police station through an email on Wednesday alleging that she was receiving threatening phone calls from Tuesday night. The callers, he said, were “targeting” her husband and “calling him names”. She also expressed concerns about the safety of their teenage daughter.
In a social media video posted on Monday, a day before KK’s untimely death, Bagchi had named several singers from West Bengal who he said were better than KK.
An officer said: “We have started investigating the matter.”