Father of Gujarat boy who fell from the seventh floor last month rejects report, even as Maharashtra SIT says probe is ongoing
Darshan Solanki, who fell to his death from the seventh floor of an IIT-B building last month, took his own life probably because of “poor academic performance”, according to the institute’s probe panel. In a report submitted to the central government, it has ruled out any caste bias. The 18-year-old Gujarat boy’s father has refused to accept the IIT-B findings. Meanwhile, a probe by the police SIT is underway.
The 12-member probe committee of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, was formed on February 18 for an internal probe into the death of Darshan, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste (SC). The report, submitted to the Centre on March 2, stated that Darshan once told a friend of his that he would return to Ahmedabad and study some other course there.
Darshan, a first-year student, died on February 12, a day after his semester exam was over. He was from Ahmedabad in Gujarat and pursuing BTech in Chemical Engineering. His family alleged that the teenager took his life because of caste discrimination. The IIT-B administration had refuted the allegation. Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle, (APPSC), a student body at IIT-Bombay, called it an ‘institutional murder’.
An undated photo of (right) Darshan Solanki with his parents and sister
The panel, headed by IIT-B’s former chief vigilance officer Professor Nand Kishore, found no evidence of caste discrimination, besides the statement of Darshan’s sister. The interim report pointed out poor academic performance of the deceased as a reason. APPSC said of the panel, “The investigation committee formed by the administration of IITB is neither transparent nor independent. There is no external member in the committee which is supposed to identify if the institute was at fault.”
Last week, the Maharashtra government formed a special investigation team (SIT) to conduct a probe into Darshan’s death. “The SIT probe is still underway and the report of IIT-B’s internal probe has been submitted to the central government. We are not authorised to speak further on the matter,” an II-TB official told mid-day.
The report has statements of Darshan’s sister and father, too. The sister has said that Darshan spoke about harassment of students from lower castes and that he was one of them, too. According to the report, the father said his son never told him about caste discrimination, but he had doubts that he would leave the course and return home.
Darshan’s father Ramesh Solanki told mid-day, “The internal committee report does not have statements of any students who studied with my son. I won’t accept this report. If my son died by suicide, then why was there no suicide note? If he fell from the seventh floor, he would have more injuries, but there were only head injuries. I believe someone hit him from behind and killed him, then threw him off the seventh floor. Even the post-mortem report is pending. This report has mentioned what we suspected. The committee did not conduct a proper investigation.”
Maharashtra’s Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Lakhmi Gautam told mid-day, “We don’t have any details of the IIT-B’s internal committee report, and even the institute has not informed us about one. We are not dependent on this report. Our own independent investigation is underway.”
With inputs from Bakulesh Trivedi
Day he died allegedly by suicide
Day IIT-B panel submitted report to central govt