— 'My mother thinks I am impotent. She wanted to see me develop a relationship. This is why she used to send a maid servant to my room...'
These lines were scribbled by Partha De in about 10 exercise books that he called his "autobiography". Partha's father, 77-year-old Arabindo De, burnt himself to death at his house in Kolkata's Robinson Street, leading the police to the gory discovery on Thursday morning that Partha had been living with the skeleton of his sister and carcasses of his two pet dogs.
The sexual overtone in several notes that the police found scattered all over the bungalow on Friday and the lurid description of bizarre sexual acts in Partha's writings have led the cops to suspect a complex relationship among family members. Psychiatrists, however, advise caution and say that Partha may have written the notes in a state of delusion. They don't rule out the possibility of incest or that Partha may have somehow been responsible for the death of his sister, but they'd rather wait a few weeks to assess his mental state to sift truth from hallucination.
In some of the jottings, it is clear that Partha had sensed his mother's growing concern over his physical closeness with his elder sister and expressed his dislike for his mother, the police said.
Psychiatrist Sabyasachi Mitra who examined Partha at Pavlov Mental Hospital on Friday said the 44-year-old engineer may have necrophilia — a condition that triggers sexual attraction towards corpses. "Rather than what he has mentioned in his diaries, Partha De might have been in a physical relationship with the dead bodies he has been living with. It is not yet established, but such behavior is not unusual on the part of psychosis patients," he told TOI. Investigators have decided to take the help of a psychiatrist when they question Partha in hospital on Saturday.
Among the bizarre things police have noticed is that Partha, his father Arabindo De and sister Debjani conversed with each other through handwritten notes. There are just so many of them that the police are confused who wrote what to whom. Experts are being roped in to sort the writings and establish lines of 'conversation'.
In one set of writings, someone wonders: "Ei pothei ki jibon cholar chilo? (Was this the way my life was to shape up?)." Another person replies that "God would save him". A third person writes that the one who asked the question is "heading in the right direction". Said an investigator: "We are yet to ascertain which family member fitted into which character. But it is certain that they spoke less and wrote to each other more."
The ones accepted as Partha's writings are a mixed pack of conflicting comments about his mother, graphic descriptions of sex and mysterious references to a maid.
In one, he writes "All men and women are dancing. Either to (the) tune or out of tune..." before going on to describe a physically explicit scene. Sometimes he eulogizes his mother and then speaks of how "jealous" she was of Debjani, who was three years older to him.
Sometimes Partha mixes up his mother with his grandmother and he talks endearingly of both on these occasions. He narrates how his mother fought against breast cancer till her death in 2007 and claims he could not attend his mother's last rites. "The enemy tried to take my mother but failed. It lost — the biggest loser. The devil got (f*****) royally. My mother had a very powerful will. She fought with all her weight."
Partha didn't always finish one exercise book before picking up another. "Some had 20 pages filled, some 10 and some even five. While some described sexual acts in uncomfortable detail, others dwell on the state of the family," said a source. Partha talks of unity in the family. "The best part of our family is that, in spirit, we are all 100 per cent, whatever we do is 100 percent. Trying to do what we know is right according to our conscience," he writes.
Investigators have found several drawing books with "Partha De" inscribed on the cover. "Most of these drawings are of monkeys and dogs in different postures. It's as if a Class 1 kid has drawn them. We have found hundreds of CDs relating to spiritual gurus from Bengal, Europe and US. We also found several comics — from Archies to Amar Chitra Katha and Mahabharat. Many of them had fresh labels of a bookstore on Lord Sinha Road," said an officer.
Kolkata’s horror house: Diary reveals dark secrets
A psychiatrist who spent an hour with the man who had kept his sister's corpse at home even after maggots had eaten into her bones on Friday shared with The Telegraph his first impressions.
Sabyasachi Mitra, a consultant neuro-psychiatrist, had been called to Shakespeare Sarani police station on Thursday to assess Partho (not Partha as mentioned on Friday) De, who had told the cops "my sister is at home, dead".
Mitra shared the following account with this newspaper since too many speculative theories had been doing the rounds in the city in the previous 24 hours.
Partho, according to my assessment, has psychotic depression.
(A person with psychotic depression is so depressed that he or she loses contact with reality and may experience hallucinations and delusional thinking.)
Partho was very upset and tearful and his personal care was very poor. His nails were long and scruffy and his teeth had not been brushed for a while.
These point towards a psychotic illness that could be schizophrenic or affective (depressive psychosis) in nature.
He came across as very depressed and very scared but deluded.
The delusion was that God was taking care of all of them, including the dogs and his sister (Debjani De, whose skeleton was found on Thursday).
He was sitting in a chair but was emotionally restless. He was not concentrating on the answers, there was a certain anxiety about him.
(At Calcutta Pavlov Hospital, where Partho has been admitted, he has told doctors he should be allowed either to go home or to go to Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity. Partho did not sleep for most of Thursday night.
(He was dozing off from time to time, sitting on a concrete slab that is used as a seat in the dining area. Towards Friday morning, he went into a cabin with a bed that is adjacent to the dining area and fell asleep.)
Partho said he had had a wonderful relationship with his sister. "I loved my sister very much. How could I let her go?" he told me.
Partho believed she was fasting to make good things happen to the family. He possibly tried to force-feed his sister after her death because when she was alive she possibly did not listen to him as she starved herself to death.
I asked him and he categorically denied having any sexual intimacy with anybody in his life.
(Police said Partho's diary had references to his sister, mother and maid in places, with real-life situations juxtaposed with what appeared to be parts of a novel/novels he had been reading.
(In a diary he wrote in English, he mentioned the title of a book he was reading and then referred to Robinson Street where the family lived. There were some references with sexual connotations and to a childhood incident in Digha that led to many theories being aired through the day.
(However, one officer pointed out: "He seems to have woven fiction with reality and it is difficult to assess which part is fiction and which is fact."
(Since the circumstances are not clear yet, The Telegraph is withholding the purported excerpts from the diary.
(At Pavlov, Partho told doctors: "It's difficult to explain to all of you but I am having a conversation with my sister. She is there with me all the time. We have a very beautiful relationship.")
Father and son
There were hints of estrangement in the relationship between father and son.
Partho said their father did not know that his daughter was dead but that is not a convincing story.
(The police said some entries in Partho's diary suggested possible differences with his father, possibly linked to the brother's possessiveness about his sister.
(Arabindo De, their father who was found charred to death on Thursday, visited a solicitor friend 48 hours before his death to discuss ways he could ensure that "neither of his children" were inconvenienced in his absence. But the police said Debjani had died at least six months ago.
(The solicitor said Arabindo had told him he was "concerned about my children". But Arabindo's purported suicide note says: "Good Bye Partho." The omission of Debjani suggests he was aware his daughter was no more. But the reference to "children" raises the possibility that Arabindo did not acknowledge the death or did not want to disclose it or did not know about it when he met the solicitor on June 8, two days before he died.)
Partho claimed that the two Labradors had died of tumours. It was initially not clear whether the dogs had been taken to a vet but further queries revealed they had not.
The entire family could have been trapped in a shared delusional disorder.
Partho claimed he weighed 115kg about three to four years ago but now weighs about 60kg. "The loss of weight was good for my body," he told me with a smile.
Partho is clearly mentally unwell. His deluded mind believes what he is saying but we can't jump into conclusions on the basis of his testimony.
(At Pavlov, Partho asked "why have you brought me here" every time doctors tried to speak to him. He told a doctor pointing to a particular patient: "I don't like the vibrations coming from him."
(Hospital superintendent Ganesh Prasad said the doctors were not asking him too many questions now.
(The hospital has started conducting a psychometry test on him, asking him a set of fixed questions. The test would take at least five days to complete.)