A 38-year-old Kolkata resident who was arrested for keeping his dead mother's body locked up in their house has been sent to a hospital for psychiatric treatment. This step came after the post-mortem report of the mother's body did not indicate any foul play, police sources said.
The incident shocked Kolkata, coming three years after a similar case on Robinson Street in the city's upmarket Park Street area. In that incident, a 44-year-old man had preserved his sister's body for at least six months after her death. The horror came to light after the man's father committed suicide by setting himself on fire. The smoke attracted the neighbour's attention.
In the latest case, 77-year-old Krishna Bhattacharjee seemed to have died on December 6 but her son, Maitreyo, 38, did not cremate her body.
According to some reports, neighbours complained to the police about the stench. Other reports suggest Maitreyo went to the home of a family friend and asked for money to cremate his mother. The family friend realised that Maitreyo was mentally disturbed, served him a meal and informed the police who went to the house, also in upmarket Salt Lake, and discovered Mrs Bhattacharjee's rotting body.
Maitreyo, the only son of the late Krishna and Dr Gora Chand Bhattacharjee who died some years ago, told police while in custody that he was "President George Bush and his mother is Queen Elizabeth". According to reports, when Maitreyo was served rice and chicken curry at the police station, he demanded chicken cutlets and sandwiches instead.
The doctor treating Maitreyo has reportedly said he was "delusional, incoherent and very angry, and that he needed treatment". A consultant psychiatrist has recommended that he be treated at a specialised centre.
What Maitreyo did for a living is not clear. His neighbours refused to talk to the media about the Bhattacharjee family. But there was clearly some problem. The front wall of the unpainted, somewhat dilapidated two-storey Bhattacharjee home in Salt Lake's BE Block was plastered with copies of phone bills, ration cards, the mother's educational certificates, and voter IDs of the mother and son.
Police are investigating the family's background for any details that may help Maitreyo get proper medical treatment.
If doctors declare Maitreyo fit to carry out the cremation, the heavily decomposed body will be handed over to him.