Kolkata skeleton case: Family letters deepen eeriness; homicide ruled out

Kolkata: While ruling out homicide in the 'horror' house in south Kolkata where a man who found living with his sister and dogs' corpses, the eerie atmosphere associated with the case deepened with police finding several letters suggesting the family members communicated with each other in writing. Police on Wednesday night stumbled upon maggot infested skeletons of Debjani De and two dogs while investigating the death of Arabinda De, the owner of the house whose charred body was found inside a bathroom hours earlier.

Also read: Man found living with corpses of sister and dogs for six months

Police reached the house in south Kolkata's Shakespeare Sarani after getting a call about a fire.

"The forensic department is yet to send its final report, but going by the initial probe it is a case of suicide by burning and not homicide," Special Additional Commissioner of Police(Crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh told reporters.

He said that Arabinda had tuberculosis in his left lung and sarcoidosis of liver.

On forensic tests on the skeleton, allegedly that of Arabinda's daughter Debjani, Ghosh said, "Tests are being conducted. The DNA sample will be sent to ascertain the identity of the skeleton."

Ghosh said that there was no injury mark on the skeleton leading to the death of the person.

Asked about contents of several diaries and paper notes recovered from the apartment which suggested brother-sister incest, he merely said that the local police station was going through the papers, but no hint of that had been found.

The police has recovered eight laptops, desktop computers, paper notes and letters written by family members and diaries from the apartment.

Ghosh said that during their primary investigation, doctors suggested that no chemicals were used to preserve the skeletons inside the apartment.

It was also baffling why none in the locality smelt the stench of the dead bodies although the doctors have ruled out use of chemicals to preserve the skeleton, he said.

Regarding the skeletons of the pet dogs, Ghosh said that opinions of doctors at the SSKM was sought before sending them to veterinary surgeons to ascertain the cause of their deaths.

The letters were written just to communicate. In fact, some letters revealed that the writer was quite depressed while the person who replied tried to console the writer, Ghosh said.

"We are unsure as to who wrote the letters and to whom. We are trying to find out. This can be a good clue in the case," the police officer said.

The letters, he said, were not sent by somebody but were surprisingly exchanged by the occupants of the flat between themselves.

Arabinda De, the owner of the building, died in a fire inside a bathroom whose door was bolted from inside on Wednesday night.

The skeletons, purportedly of his 50-year-old daughter Debjani and their two pet dogs, were were found in the apartment the next day.

De's 45-year-old son and sole living family member, Partho, who has said that he was living with the skeletons for the past six months, has been found to be "mentally unstable". Police said that forensic experts would conduct radiology and DNA tests to ascertain the identity of the person whose skeletal remains have been discovered in the house.

Police have also spoken to Arobindo's brother Arun, who lives next door, besides the security guard of the building.

"The De family had no connection with the outside world. They had no maid and had severed connections with their relatives as well. But we are probing all possible angles in this case," he said.

Meanwhile, a medical team comprising three psychologists and two doctors has been formed to check on Partho's mental health.

"We have kept Partho in an isolated room. He is hardly speaking to anyone. In fact, he said he was spiritually connected to his father, sister and the two dogs. He even asked us to shift him to Mother House (of Missionaries of Charity)," Ganesh Prasad, superintendent of Pavlov Mental Hospital where Partho was admitted yesterday, said.

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