In a new twist to the skeleton recovery case, police are not ruling out the possibility of Aurobindo De having been murdered to gain possession over his property. The decision to reinvestigate De’s death was taken soon after the interrogation of his brother, Arun De, at Shakespeare Sarani police station on Sunday.
Police had initially believed that De had committed suicide on 10 June night, unable to cope any longer with the activities of his mentally deranged son Partho’s who had kept his sister’s skeleton in their Robinson Street house for six months.
Police suspect that De could have been murdered as some of “his close kin were well aware of his inherited property worth around Rs.24 crore and knew that there would be no one after him to inherit it as his son was mentally unstable and the daughter cannot be traced.”
An investigating officer said that they are now trying to identify the fire fighter who had entered the flat even before police and recovered De’s charred body from inside a toilet. They are trying to ascertain whether the toilet was locked from inside, which would imply that De had committed suicide, or it was already broken when he got there. Though it is still subject to investigation, it is possible that De’s body was dumped inside the toilet after setting him on fire to make it appear that he killed himself.
Refusing to disclose where Partho was when the security guards of the building saw smoke bellowing out of the toilet’s window, the officer said “it is a key point that may help us solve the mystery”. Police found documents include some letters and a diary in the deceased’s flat which revealed that De often interacted with his brother, Arun De, over sale of the property since their mother Shanti De’s death in May 2014.
Arun De, however, initially made no mention of this. “The decision to interrogate the deceased’s brother was taken as he kept saying that his family had a bitter relation with that of his brother and they went to the deceased’s flat for the first time after 10 years on 19 May to celebrate Partho’s birthday,” the officer said. Police came to know after going through the documents that De and his brother had met at Tollygunge Club, Calcutta Club and a coffee shop at Park Street several times to decide the price of their house which they planned to sell and to finalise their shares.
Arun De too confirmed after a long silence that there were several meetings in the past few months and told police that his brother used to lament about his son’s whimsical activities, which had actually prompted his brother to decide to sell the property. It was around 10 days before De’s death when they had met the last time.
He told police that it was his brother who had approached him first with a proposal to sell the property in September 2014 and went to their solicitor friend, who will also be questioned by the police.
“He told us that his brother had informed him that Partho used to take medicine for his depression when he was in the USA. But he had stopped taking the medicine later. But no doctor’s prescription was found from the deceased’s flat that shows Partho was advised to take the medicines,” the officer said.
Police came to know that Aurobindo and Arun De’s father Gadadhar Dey had prepared a “deed of trust” on 23 June 1953 mentioning that the property on the 23.06 cottah plot will be equally divided between the two brothers after their mother’s death. Interestingly, the two brothers had started coming closer since August 2014, which is just three months after their mother’s death.