The Central Crime Branch in Chennai that was investigating the Fathima Latheef suicide case, reportedly arrived at the conclusion that there was no evidence against the professors alleged to have instigated her to take her life. Times of India (ToI) reports that the crime branch, in a report submitted to the state Home department, maintained that there was no prima facie evidence of the three professors she named, abetting the suicide.
This conclusion was reportedly arrived at after interviewing over 100 people including the 19-year-old's friends, family and IIT staff. Despite this report however, investigation in the case will continue as the CBI had taken over the case on Saturday. This after the Tamil Nadu government cited orders from the Centre, to shift the probe to the central agency. The development came 10 days after her father, Abdul Latheef told media that Union Minister Amit Shah had assured him that the CBI will investigate the case.
Fathima was a first-year Humanities student at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras and was widely described as an intelligent and academically competent student. She was found dead at her hostel on November 9 and had named three professors including Sudarshan Padmanabhan for her death.
The order transferring the case stated that the Tamil Nadu government had decided to accept the proposal of senior officials in the state to transfer the case. The transfer was reportedly recommended based on demands from various quarters.
The Madras High court meanwhile, took this case as an opportunity to insist upon mental health awareness and aid for students studying in the institution.
A division bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and R Hemalatha said, “It is high time that the administration of IIT makes every endeavour to give periodical psychiatric counselling to the students."
It said faculty members are also under obligation to motivate and encourage the students to perform better, and a permanent solution needs to be found as expeditiously as possible so as to prevent loss of young lives.
"It is also suggested that such psychiatric counselling should be part of the course in all educational institutions to prevent such incidents of suicide by way of instilling more confidence into the young mind," the bench added.