Kolkata: Ex-school principal, mother found dead at their home in Salt Lake

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Kolkata: Sharmistha Dey (56), a former school principal, and her mother, Papiya Dey (79), were found dead at their home in Salt Lake on the eastern outskirts of Kolkata on Sunday morning. They were the only occupants of the two-storey house at BE Block.

The deaths triggered panic in the neighbourhood that the women might have died of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), as both of them were known to be ailing.

On June 5, Papiya Dey was taken to a private hospital for a check-up and prior to that she was admitted to a hospital.

The bodies were sent for post-mortem examination and swab samples of the deceased were also tested for Covid-19. “We received the test reports on Monday. There was no trace of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, in any one of them. They died of natural causes, according to the post-mortem report,” Laxmi Narayan Meena, commissioner of police, Bidhannagar, told HT on Monday afternoon.

The deaths have attracted media attention, as Sharmistha Dey was earlier married to Surajit Kar Purakayastha, former director-general of West Bengal Police, and currently the security adviser to the state government.

The couple had got divorced years ago.

Dey had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014, but party leaders said she was inactive for the past four years.

BJP’s West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh on Sunday, however, demanded an inquiry into the cause of the deaths.

On Sunday morning, police broke into the house after their neighbours informed the Bidhannagar North police station authorities that nobody in the house was responding to calls.

The police received the alert while a sanitisation drive by the Bidhannagar Municipality was on at Salt Lake’s BE block.

Officials from the police station said the mother and daughter were found lying on a bed and were declared dead on arrival at a local hospital.

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