It's been a harrowing long wait for Vijay Bhaskar, father of Sri Harsha, the 21-year-old, who took his own life at Amrita School of Engineering in Bengaluru on October 21. It's been over a month since Harsha’s death and the Parappana Agrahara Police, who are investigating the case claim that a chargesheet will be filed within the next two weeks.
“I have my suspicions on the college. When the college reopened on November 18, they (administration) held a meeting with all parents. The parents were told that Harsha ended his life for personal reasons and that the college was not responsible. We have been waiting for weeks for some progress. We only want the investigation to happen in a fair manner,” Harsha’s father who was in Bengaluru to meet the police told TNM.
Investigating officers say that they have managed to obtain the CCTV footage of the proceedings of the Disciplinary Committee (DISCO) hearing at the college on the day of Harsha’s death. Police also rubbished media reports, which claimed that Harsha’s death was due to personal reasons and said that they have gathered all evidence necessary for a strong case.
Speaking to TNM, investigating officials said that on October 21 morning, Sri Harsha was called into the DISCO meeting, where the lecturers allegedly informed him that they had “proof that he had broken a CCTV camera in the college,” when protests had broken out on September 23.
“We can see the lecturers telling Harsha that several other witnesses had told them that he was the one who broke the CCTV camera. When they repeatedly kept telling him that he would be suspended, Harsha reiterated that he did not do it and that he had only clicked the picture of the broken camera and put it up on Snapchat,” an investigating officer told TNM.
When the DISCO members could not get Harsha to say that he had broken the camera, the lecturers allegedly began asking Harsha as to who broke the camera. Investigating officers say that based on the footage they have gathered from inside the meeting room, Sri Harsha allegedly named a fellow student. However, Harsha maintained that these were only rumours and he did not know conclusively who had vandalized the camera.
“The DICSO members finally made him write a statement to the effect that he had clicked the picture and that the other student had broken the camera. This was on the promise that he would not be suspended. But after Harsha signed the letter, they informed him that he would be suspended,” the investigating officer said.
When asked why the accused in the case were not arrested, police said that it is not mandatory to arrest accused in cases of abetment to suicide. Police said that the accused had co-operated with the investigation and that college had given access to the CCTV cameras.
“The two cleaners of the college, who cleaned up the crime scene, told us that they were informed by their superiors to clean up. But they said that on the day Harsha died, there were too many people around the campus and in the hurry and panic, they can't remember who told them to clean up. We have booked the college management for destruction of evidence,” the investigating officer said.
The police say that they have all things in place to file the chargesheet and only need two eye witnesses – Harsha’s classmates – Sai Vardhan and Azrath’s statements. As the students had exams, they were allegedly unable to attest their statements in front of the magistrate. Police say that the statements will be taken on December 7, after which a chargesheet will be filed in the sessions court.