A 19-year-old student of IIT Bombay was arrested on Sunday by the Mumbai police Special Investigation Team (SIT) on charges of abetment to suicide in connection with the alleged suicide of fellow student Darshan Solanki. The SIT had discovered an alleged suicide note in Solanki’s hostel room in which he had reportedly written “Arman you killed me”. The accused, Arman Khatri, had threatened Solanki for allegedly passing a communal remark, according to the police investigation. Solanki lived on the same floor in the hostel.
“We had recorded the statement of Khatri but he is not opening up about the reason that led to the dispute between them. Hence, we arrested him so that we can question him and get the exact sequence of events that led to the fight between Khatri and Solanki,” said a senior officer. The police suspect Solanki died by suicide as he was under the apprehension Khatri would harm him.
The officer further stated, “Based on the statements of other students we have recorded, it has come to light that nearly five days before the suicide, Solanki had passed a communal remark which had irked Khatri. The latter had threatened him with a cutter and said he would not spare him. Since then, Solanki was petrified and had also apologized to Khatri on a couple of occasions and the two had hugged as well. However, it appears he continued to be scared and had also developed a fever a day before he committed suicide.”
According to the statement of one of the students, Solanki had expressed his desire to go back home to Ahmedabad but was scared Khatri could harm him there as well since the latter’s extended family also live in the city. The police have not found any role of caste discrimination in the alleged suicide of Solanki.
Initially, the Powai police had registered an accidental death report in the matter soon after Solanki’s death by suicide. After the family members of Solanki insisted their son had died by suicide due to caste discrimination he faced at the institute, an FIR was registered on charges of abetment to suicide and sections of the SC/ST Act. After the matter was transferred to the SIT, it found an alleged suicide note in Solanki’s hostel room on March 3. The police decided to place Khatri under arrest after the handwriting analysis confirmed the alleged suicide note was written by Solanki, a source said.