We are being harassed by SIT: Solanki



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Darshan Solanki’s father reaches out to CM, dy CM and police commissioner for a fair investigation into his son’s death

Mumbai: Ramesh Solanki, father of Darshan Solanki, first year student of chemical engineering, at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), who died by suicide on February 12, reached out to the chief minister (CM) Eknath Shinde, home minister and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, and commissioner of police Vivek Phansalkar, on Wednesday, stating that the family was being pressurised by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Mumbai crime branch. In the letter Solanki has said: “They are insisting we lodge an FIR on the basis of SIT’s investigation. We request that you take appropriate action against officers who are trying to manipulate the process in this manner.”

On Monday, SIT had revealed that it had recovered a “suicide note” from the deceased’s hostel room on March 3. Thereafter, on March 16, SIT had presented the facts to the family asking them to file an FIR based on the information available with the investigation team.

“My family had travelled from Ahmedabad to visit the Powai police station to register an FIR on the basis of my complaint dated March 16 in the case of the death of my son Darshan. In spite of our requests, the Powai police refused to register the FIR and forwarded the complaint to SIT for necessary action,” Solanki wrote in his letter. He added that the family’s “demand for lodging an FIR at the SIT office was denied”.

Solanki brought focus on his experience at the SIT office on March 27, as he said in the letter, “we were at the office along with our lawyer at 9.30 am but were made to wait until 2.30 pm. At first, they insisted that Darshan’s mother register an FIR instead of me, even though the complaint was made by me. A police officer approached us at 2.30 pm with a pre-typed copy of the contents of an FIR, without our input or speaking to us.” Solanki further stated that the contents of the FIR had none of the facts that he had presented to Powai police earlier. He said the family was both shocked and disheartened with the attitude of the police and SIT’s investigative team.

“We are apprehensive that SIT is attempting to sideline and divert the investigation from the angle of caste discrimination faced by Darshan, which has been reported by multiple persons and is part of my complaint,” said the letter. He added that after leaving SIT’s office on March 27, “the family was shocked to learn that certain facts of the investigation were reported in the media in the evening, bringing attention to the pressure being put on us throughout the day”.

Refuting Solanki’s claims, Lakhmi Gautam, joint commissioner of police, crime branch, said, “We have been waiting for the family to give us the specifics of their complaint to register the FIR since the last three days. But they are not coming forward with the statement. We have provided all the documents they sought from us, including a copy of the suicide note, ADR copy, and the postmortem report. We also helped them get the death certificate from BMC.” Gautam said that the family’s allegation that they were made to wait was factually incorrect and added that while the “family is alleging caste discrimination we have recorded statements of several students and none of them have taken that line”.

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