The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Huge sums borrowed all life long
- Suicide cycle complete

The mother died on Friday, the son on Saturday. And finally, on Sunday, the father breathed his last.

Three days after the Mukhopadhyays of Ballygunge took poison at a central Calcutta hotel to escape a debt trap, Manoj died on Sunday afternoon in the medicine ward of Medical College and Hospital.

Barely 24 hours before, 18-year-old Aritra died at the same hospital, succumbing to the poison that killed mother Gouri a day earlier. Doctors who treated both Manoj and Aritra said the poison had moved from the stomach to the blood and finally to the nervous system, leading to cardiac arrest.

A preliminary probe has revealed that 53-year-old Manoj, an Eastern Railway employee and a table tennis buff, had fallen into a debt trap after borrowing huge amounts from various sources ' some close, others distantly related.

Desperate to avoid the moneylenders who would come calling for repayment, Manoj left his railway quarters on Kankulia Road with his family some eight months ago and moved into a rented house in Santoshpur. But early this year, they disappeared from that address, too.

'Manoj initially borrowed money to meet the medical expenses of his mother-in-law, who was suffering from cancer and died after prolonged treatment,' said an officer of Jorasanko police station.

'But even after his mother-in-law's death, he did not stop borrowing money. At times, he would ask colleagues or moneylenders for Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000. In office, he was showcaused for absenteeism but he never mended his ways,' the officer added.

Manoj Mukhopadhyay’s office identity card

'He never said anything to me. I just can't believe that Manoj was in a debt trap,' said elder brother Manas.

Police have learnt that Manoj would often visit his ancestral home in Santipur, Nadia, and borrow money from childhood acquaintances.

Aritra, his friends said, had a fascination for branded clothes and was never short of money. An avid drummer who would perform for a small band his friends at South Point High School had formed, Aritra's lifestyle and absenteeism at school are being probed.

'Aritra had missed a year in Class XI because of his absenteeism,' said his friend Spandan Roy Choudhury. 'He would be absent for days, but never told us why. He lied about small things and never wanted to speak about his parents. At times, he would say his days were numbered.'

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