Ishmeet Singh's body brought to Delhi

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New Delhi, Jul 30 (UNI) The body of 'Voice of India' Ishmeet Singh, who died in the Maldives last evening, was today brought to Delhi from where it will be taken to his hometown Ludhiana later tonight.

The body of the 19-year-old budding singer, who drowned in the swimming pool of his hotel Chaaya Island Dhonveli in North Male last evening, arrived here by a private aircraft at around 1900 hrs, a Star Plus official said.

Talking to UNI, the official said Ishmeet's body was recieved in Delhi by officials of the Punjab Government which had made the arrangements for airlifting the body to Ludhiana.

''The state Government officials will now accompany the body to Ishmeet's home town of Ludhiana, where the singer will be cremated tomorrow,'' the official said.

Earlier, news of the untimely death of the 19 year old Ishmeet had cast a pall of gloom over his hometown in the industrial city of Ludhiana as well as among the music fraternity.

Ishmeet's father Gurprinder Singh Sodhi and mother Amritpal Kaur had been informed by the event management company, which took the singer to the Maldives for a concert, at around 2000 hrs yesterday that the crooner had died due to drowning in the swimming pool of the hotel where he was staying.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed shock over the sudden death of the teenage singer. A statement from the PMO said Dr Singh was shocked and saddened by the death and ''shares the grief of his parents and fans''.

According to reports emenating from Maladives, the pop singer was with friends when he entered the swimming pool despite being unable to swim.

The incident took place around 1515 hrs, when Ishmeet and around six friends were at the poolside. None of the boys could swim, the hotel manager Robert said, and they had remained in the children's pool. Ishmeet then told his friends he would go into the deeper pool, according to Robert.

He was taken by a resort launch to ADK hospital in Male following an unsuccessful attempt by the resident doctor to resuscitate him, Robert said.

As the news of Ishmeet's death came in, people from the music industry and his co-finalists on 'Voice of India' expressed shock over his untimely demise.

Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, whom Ishmeet and Harshit had met as contestants and who gave away the winner's trophy, said, ''I feel very sad. He'd come to meet me, sang for me, and I had nudged him to pay a little more attention to classical training.'' ''He'd told me, 'Mein ek din aapko bahut bada ban ke dikhaoonga' (one day I'll make a big name for myself),'' she recalled.

Choreographer-director Farah Khan, a judge on 'Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar' where Ishmeet was one of the contestants, speaking to a TV channel, said, ''He was a gentleman, never saying anything bad about any contestant. I still can't believe he's dead.'' Harshit Saxena, Amul Star 'Voice of India' runner up, said, ''He was like a brother to me. I cannot even comment on what has happened. I cannot believe that he is no longer with us.'' Playback singers Abhijeet and Alka Yagnik, who were also judges on 'Voice of India' music reality show, have expressed shock at Ishmeet's death.

''It's shocking. It's a cruel thing that has happened to him. I still can't believe it,'' said Alka.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee kept all its educational institutions closed today as a mark of respect to Ishmeet Singh.

Sources close to the singer say that Ishmeet had enthralled the city doctors just two days ago at a function in DMC hospital.

The singer had said that he would soon return for many functions, but perhaps destiny willed otherwise.

UNI AR RR HT2002

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