A dimly-lit air-conditioned room, gaps between doors and windows covered with a cloth, the voice of American devotional speaker Joyce Mayers echoing throughout, and in one corner, a female skeleton on a wooden cot.
This was the room 44-year-old Partha De spent the last six months in, police said late Wednesday, after discovering the body of his father, who immolated himself in their posh south Kolkata home.
Partha used to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with his sister Debjani’s skeleton, offering it food and even sleeping on the same bed, after she died in November last year.
In fact, the former techie told a senior police officer in crisp English that she came back to life every night to consume the eatables.
“They changed bed sheets every day. The room was cleaned too. It seemed he took regular care of the skeleton,” the officer told HT.
Police found two more skeletons, of the family’s pet dogs, in the same room filled with devotional books that Partha said were his means to reach out to God.
“He claimed he could bring his sister back from death. A doctor said Partha was hallucinating. Initially he was tense but later became polite. There was no way one could believe he spent the past six months with three skeletons,” said a police officer.
But, despite the sordid existence, the father-son duo kept the rooms and kitchen clean. Partha took especially good care of the bedroom where Debjani’s skeleton lay.
Bed sheets and blankets were changed daily and the skeleton was neatly tucked under a blanket with the skull sticking out exactly in the same pose in which she used to sleep. He even used to offer rice, daal, fish, dry food, biscuits and even tea to her skeleton.
“He said his father initially protested about keeping the skeletons but later was convinced that she would come for food. His father left a suicide note stating that no one is responsible for his death. The note ended in ‘love you beta’,” said Kolkata Police officer.
Partha, who quit his job in Bengaluru with the TCS, sometimes went out to buy things but mostly kept to himself. The security guards used to run errands for them. “We have never met such a character and never seen such a case,” said an interrogating officer.
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