File picture of Mukuta Mukherji
Calcutta, Sept. 1: Officers investigating the death of three women who jumped off a South City terrace on Friday spent the best part of today trying to persuade their relatives to receive the bodies.
It was evening by the time one clan member, Anjan Chatterjee, agreed to formally claim the bodies and perform the last rites of Amita Mukherji, 81, and her unmarried daughters Mukuta, 47, and Kheya, 35.
“The Mukherji family led a reclusive life and none of their relatives came forward to claim the bodies. Finally, we were able to persuade one of them,” an investigating officer said.
He added that he couldn’t remember any other incident in his police career of 15-odd years where relatives of dead people had shown similar reluctance.
The three women from Golf Green had driven to South City on Thursday night, a day after the death of Amita’s 91-year-old husband Nihar, and leapt off a terrace around 2.30am in a suicide pact whose motive remains unclear.
Their purported suicide note donated their entire property towards Tagore studies, insisting that none of it must go to any relative even if they claimed it.
Tracing the relatives of deceased people is an important part of investigations as the police are supposed to hand the bodies over for funeral. But the Mukherjis’ bodies lay at the Katapukur morgue in Mominpore till 7pm today, unclaimed for about 40 hours.
“We had a harrowing time finding and persuading the relatives to claim the bodies,” an officer said. He said the police had contacted several relatives of the Mukherjis in places such as Ahiritola, Bhowanipore and Park Circus, but none would receive the bodies.
Eventually, Behala Parnasree residents Anjan Chatterjee, 60, and his brother Biplab, 70 — maternal cousins of Mukuta and Kheya — agreed to write a note to Jadavpur police station. The police then forwarded a no-objection certificate to the morgue.
The women were cremated at Keoratola, where their father was cremated on Thursday.
Anjan used to be the lone, weak link between the Mukherjis and the rest of the family, the police said.
“Mukuta had called me after her father died. The sisters were very restless. I asked them to calm down but none of us went to the crematorium,” an officer quoted Anjan.
Apart from Mukuta, only some officials and table tennis coaches from Children’s Little Theatre in Dhakuria — where Kheya used to train budding talents — were present when Nihar was cremated.