IIT Bombay student’s death: Darshan’s father alleges harassment by cops in FIR registration30th March 2023
MUMBAI: The father of deceased IIT Bombay student Darshan Solanki has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde alleging that his family was facing harassment from the police in the registration of an FIR into the death of his son, an official said.
The letter, written on Wednesday, also said the family was “completely shocked and disheartened” by the attitude of the police and the members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), who have been “refusing” to register the FIR for almost two weeks now.
A copy of the letter is also addressed to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who handles the home portfolio, and Mumbai Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar, the official said.
Darshan Solanki, who hailed from Ahmedabad in Gujarat and was a first-year student of the B Tech (Chemical) course, allegedly committed suicide by jumping off the seventh floor of a hostel building located on the campus on February 12 this year.
His family has claimed he faced discrimination at IITB for belonging to a Scheduled Caste (SC) community and suspected foul play in his death.
However, the inquiry committee set up by the institute claimed that there was no caste-based discrimination and hinted at deteriorating academic performance as a possible cause of suicide.
In his letter, Darshan’s father Ramesh Solanki said, “This is to inform you that I along with my family had travelled from Ahmedabad to visit the Powai police station for registration of FIR on the basis of my complaint dated March 16 in the case of my son’s death. However, in spite of our requests, the Powai police station refused to register the FIR stating that since the SIT has been constituted to investigate the case, they cannot register the FIR and they will forward the complaint to the SIT for necessary action.”
A DCP present at that time was non-cooperative and refused to entertain their request for registration of the FIR, he said.
The deceased’s father alleged that when the family approached the SIT with the same demand on March 16, it also did not cooperate. “We are completely shocked and disheartened by the attitude of the police and the members of the SIT, who have been refusing to register the FIR for almost two weeks and are now forcing us to write their version. Their demeanour does not inspire any confidence in us and is suspect, to say the least,” the letter said.
“We are apprehensive that the SIT is attempting to sideline and divert the investigation from the angle of caste discrimination faced by Darshan,” it added.
“We request you to please take stock of the matter and ensure that the FIR is registered on the basis of our complaint and the investigation is carried out independently and fairly without any foul play. Please act urgently in the matter to ensure justice to our son, who met his untimely death due to caste discrimination faced by him on the IIT Bombay campus, and uphold the truth,” Solanki said.
On Monday, the SIT of Mumbai police probing Solanki’s death said it has recovered a note that mentions the name of his hostel mate, an official said on Monday.
The purported suicide note, written on a piece of paper, was recovered from Solanki’s hostel room some days ago, he added.