No funds to bring back Priyanka Chopra’s dead assistant


It has been more than a week since a member of Priyanka Chopra’s entourage to Los Angeles was found dead in his Beverly Hills hotel room, and his body is still languishing at the mortuary. Jiban Patra, 41, was one of PeeCee’s several assistants who accompanied her to Los Angeles and on to Vancouver. Jiban could not obtain a Canadian visa and had to stay back in the LA hotel, where his body was discovered on April 7. The Los Angeles Police Department, which is investigating the case, has registered a case of unnatural death and an initial inquest has pegged the immediate cause of death as heart attack. Though the police department has given a clearance for the body to be brought back to India, the process is caught in a so-called logistical muddle. A source from the US said, “Jiban has two kids and a wife back in Mumbai and they have been in constant touch with Priyanka Chopra’s office to arrange for his body to be brought back home. But nothing has worked out so far. The death was also hush-hush till the Indian community took it up strongly and put pressure on Priyanka to arrange for Jiban’s passage to India. It is a tragic case as he is the only earning member of the family and lost his father to heart attack last year.” The biggest hurdle, it seems, is the cost of transporting the body – pegged at $15,000. According to sources, no one is willing to pick up the tab, yet. While PeeCee remained unavailable for comment, a source close to her said that her manager has been in touch with the Indian Embassy to try and work out a solution. “We would like the crisis to resolve as early as possible,” said the source. Even as the bereaved family waits for the Embassy and PeeCee to arrive at a consensus, the Oriya community (Jiban is from Orissa) in the US has initiated a parallel dialogue with the Embassy and instituted a fund in his name to expedite the passage. Online community pages are also appealing for help. “…We are requesting Priyanka Chopra’s team to take the responsibility to send the body to Orissa. The family at India was helpless and no one speaks English/Hindi. We are in contact with PC’s team and also the LA-Coroner police department and updating the family. After Jiban’s death his family is devastated and will face an immediate financial disaster. There is no one there to help them…” says the appeal that has been put up on the website of the Orissa Society of the Americans. A source from the US confirmed that all necessary paperwork and legal authorisation has been done for the body to be transported to India.


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