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A DAY after a man was arrested in Kolkata for keeping his mother’s body in a freezer for three years and continuing to withdraw her pension, the police on Friday wrote to SBI’s Alipore branch asking why the pension account was still operational when the recipient was no more. Doctors, meanwhile, said the 46-year-old man, Subhabrato Majumdar, may be suffering from “schizophrenia-like psychosis”.
According to norms, pensioners are required to submit life certificates to their banks every November to ensure that they continue to get their pensions. In case a person is unable to visit the bank due to ill health, one has to submit a doctor’s certificate explaining the medical condition. Following this, bank officials visit the pensioners in person and then issue a life certificate, which enables them to withdraw their pension.
The police are looking into the genuineness of the life certificate in the name of Bina Majumdar (86), which was presented to the bank to withdraw her pension. It is suspected that Subhabrato was withdrawing the money by taking her thumb impression. Bina was in government service and had retired from the Food Corporation of India.
“The man had been withdrawing money from his mother’s pension account through an ATM card. We have contacted the bank seeking details,” said a senior police officer, adding it is being probed how the pension was being withdrawn beyond a year without a life certificate.
Subhabrato, who was on Thursday arrested from his S N Chatterjee Road residence, had preserved the body with the help of chemicals such as formalin. The body was found cut open from the chest till the abdomen with internal organs removed. The corpse was embalmed regularly for its longevity. Subhabrato has been booked under sections 176 (omission to give notice or information to public servant) and 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the IPC.
Subhabrato was produced before the Alipore court on Friday and granted bail. The court also allowed the police to send him to a hospital for treatment. He will be sent to Pavlov Hospital in the city, said police.
Subhabrato, meanwhile, was on Friday taken to SSKM Hospital. “He seems to be suffering from schizophrenia-like psychosis. He wanted to bring his mother to life. He needs treatment,” said Pradip Saha, the director of Institute of Psychiatry.
Bina had died of a cardiac arrest on April 7, 2015. Ten days after her death, Subhabrato — who had studied leather technology — allegedly brought her body home, but told his neighbours that it had been kept at Peace Haven, a mortuary. “The neighbours had seen Bina’s body being brought back home from Behala Balananda Brahmachari Hospital… no last rites were conducted. No neighbour was allowed to accompany them to the crematorium,” said a police officer.
“A domestic help who used to work in the house thought that a body was being preserved… She had told neighbours about the matter after she left her job. Following a tip-off, police raided the house on Thursday,” the officer added.
Subhabrato father Gopal Chandra Majumdar (89) has also been questioned by the police as he allegedly knew about the body.
He, however, denied the same on Friday. Speaking to mediapersons outside his house, Gopal Chandra said: “No, I wasn’t aware of the body. It was kept on the ground floor while I used to stay on the upper floor. I was aware that my son was mentally unfit.”
Police said the ground floor had two air conditioners and two industrial freezers, one of which contained the body. “Many medical journals, in different languages, were recovered from the house,” a police officer said.
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