Probe into IIT-Bombay student’s death after fall, family says he was depressed — (Times of India)

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Times of India

Nitasha Natu and George Mendonca, TNN

Sep 6, 2014, 00:58 IST

MUMBAI: The family of Aniket Ambhore, 22, an IIT-Bombay student who died after a fall from a sixth-floor balcony of a hostel on the campus on Thursday, said he was undergoing treatment for depression.

Another student in Hostel 13 saw Aniket, a fourth year student doing dual degree in electrical engineering, talking on his cell phone under an umbrella on a balcony on Thursday evening. He later saw him falling and informed others, but did not see how Aniket fell, said the institute.

“Aniket was suffering from depression probably due to the backlog in subjects from his first and second years. Due to his condition, he was unable to sleep properly at night in the hostel. We had consulted a doctor who had advised him rest for 5-6 hours during daytime,” said Aniket’s father Sanjay after his son’s final rites at Airoli in Navi Mumbai on Friday.

Aniket was on medication and had come home in Prabhadevi and stayed for 10 days for complete rest. “On Thursday, he went back to the campus. Around 6.45pm, I received a call from Aniket’s hostel friend, saying he had fallen and was injured. I thought he might have just suffered a minor injury. Upon reaching the college, I was shocked to find him dead,” added Sanjay, a joint manager with a nationalized bank in Khetwadi. Aniket’s mother is a lecturer in a well-known Nerul school and his younger sister is pursuing architecture in a Bandra college.

Sanjay said the incident that killed his son, as explained by IIT, was fishy. He claimed since Aniket had taken admission under the SC/ST quota, he was taunted at the institute. A head of department had once passed a derogatory comment, but the family did not take a serious note as Aniket was also at fault. “He bunked lectures and spent time reading spiritual books.”

Powai police have not yet reached a conclusion whether it was an accident or suicide. For the time being, they have filed an accidental death case and are investigating.

Asked about Aniket’s father’s allegations, IIT-B dean of student affairs Urjit Yajnik said: “We had a counselling session with the students who were studying with him, but none of them mentioned any such thing to us. In fact, they all pointed out that he kept aloof and was very spiritual.”

Yajnik pointed out that Aniket had several backlogs in the first and second year and was put on the academic rehabilitation programme (ARP). “He was very poor in academics, but many students have recovered after ARP. It looks more like an accident.” If the claims are true, IIT will look into the matter to take corrective measures, Yajnik added. IIT-B on Friday cut short its Teacher’s Day celebrations after the incident.

“We are trying to procure Ambhore’s call records from his cell phone service provider and find out who he spoke to last. We will check whether he made calls to any other person repeatedly on the day of his death. We will look into all angles and quiz his parents and co-students,” a senior police official said.