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22 Feb 2017

Troubled life ends in grisly replay - Partho's death mirrors dad's

Partho De at a picnic in Eco Park early this month.
The picture was posted on Facebook on February 15.
TT, Calcutta, Feb. 21: Partho De, discovered living with the skeleton of his sister for six months two summers ago, was found dead with burn injuries in the bathroom of his new flat this afternoon much like the way his father had died in June 2015.
Partho, 46, initially sent to a mental hospital after the family tragedy, had last February moved to his Kidderpore flat where he lived with a daytime carer and under the supervision of his legal guardians, the Missionaries of Charity.
A matchbox and a bottle of packaged water half-filled with petrol was found in the bathroom. His father Arabindo De too had lain dead in a bathtub beside a matchbox and a vodka bottle containing kerosene at their 120-year-old Robinson Street home.
Police had concluded that Arabindo had committed suicide. Today, investigators said they were probing Partho's death, with the post-mortem scheduled for tomorrow.
Partho, a radiophysics BTech, was leading a "happy life", according to several people who had known him the past few months. He was dressing well and shaving, and his self-care had improved.
He had been going shopping, driving his white Esteem with the Missionaries-hired carer Pradip Sarkar beside him, going to the movies by himself, making friends. His mood was improving and anxiety abating.
Partho had regained his appetite and put on 55kg, which his doctor said signified good health. He weighed about 120kg now and was penning his biography. Just last Saturday, he had signed a contract with a pest control agency for another year.
But some of those who knew him said Partho had been hurt by media comparisons with a young man in Raipur who has been accused of killing his partner and parents.
Partho at his Robinson Street
home on June 11, 2015, the
day police found his 
charred body and 
the skeletal
remains of his 
sister and their
two dogs
"I'm not a killer," he had told a Missionaries of Charity priest. "Why are they saying this to me, Father?"
Partho had in recent weeks been searching for references to him on the Web, which were aplenty. "We had never noticed him doing this before. But there was nothing very unusual in his behaviour after we explained he should not worry about these issues," the priest said.
The timing of Partho's death has left some police officers wondering whether he had been worrying about the criminal case he faced in a city court on Thursday, although the two possible charges carried a maximum term of six months.
The court was to decide whether Partho could be tried for an act likely to spread infection dangerous to life, and for concealing an offence.
A doctor who was treating Partho said he had schizoaffective disorder - which seems to combine hallucinations and delusions with mood swings - but had been successfully treated and rehabilitated to live by himself with a carer.
Partho was alone in the 11th-floor flat at Merlin Riverview. Sarkar said Partho had sent him to Jadavpur on an errand. "After some time, I called to check. He did not respond."
The police found Partho on the floor, his face charred and his green T-shirt and khaki shorts burnt.
One of his laptops was on the bed; so was a white smartphone, a Wi-fi booster, a Lata Mangeshkar CD and a motivational book, You Can You Will by Joel Osteen. Books and diaries were strewn across the bed in the spare bedroom, which had a second laptop.
Unlike 3 Robinson Street where the police had found stacks of books covered in dust, officers found the Kidderpore flat "cluttered but clean".
A former employee with a software giant, Partho was the lone survivor in his family. Sister Debjani, an engineering graduate turned music teacher, had died in December 2014 and their mother in 2005.
A day after billowing smoke led to the discovery of father Arabindo's death, Partho had spilled the beans about living with Debjani's bones. Today, the cops found Debjani's piano in the 1,093sqft Kidderpore flat.The flat's previous owner, D.J. Bulsara, said Partho had paid for it in two instalments. Neighbours in the complex said Partho regularly took morning walks.

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