‘I have little faith in investigation’: Brother of deceased IIT Madras PhD scholar

Sachin Kumar Jain, a 31-year-old PhD scholar in the Mechanical Engineering department of IIT Madras died by suicide on March 31.
Sachin Kumar Jain, the IIT Madras student who died by suicide
Sachin Kumar Jain, the IIT Madras student who died by suicide

“I have little faith that they will bring everything out. I don’t think the findings of the investigation will be revealed to the public. But I wish that they will take action if they find that something wrong has happened so that nobody else goes through the same thing,“ said Bhavesh Jain, brother of 31-year-old PhD scholar Sachin Kumar Jain who died by suicide in IIT Madras on March 31. Bhavesh had written a six-page letter to the Director of IIT Madras, Professor V Kamakoti, alleging that his brother was under “undue pressure” from his PhD guide Ashish Kumar. He also sought a detailed probe into Sachin’s death and alleged that his guide was harassing him despite being informed about his mental health issues.

When asked if Bhavesh received a response to his complaint letter, he said an email from the institute said they are investigating the matter. But there was not even a single phone call from the management, he said. “I have not faced anything like this before. I don’t know what will happen and what will not. I will also not know how well they will investigate the matter. I am just waiting for the report to come,” said Bhavesh, who expressed willingness to go to IIT Madras if needed.

Bhavesh, who is unsure about the progress of the police investigation into Sachin’s death, said a First Information Report (FIR) has been filed but his family was not involved in the process. “We did not get any updates about the police investigation. But the police said that they needed Sachin’s mobile phone for a forensic analysis. It is difficult for us to communicate so we might have to go there,” he said

In his complaint letter, Bhavesh alleged that Sachin was “mentally disturbed” in months that preceded his death, which was conveyed to him over the phone. The deceased scholar had also told his brother that he had been consulting a psychiatrist and taking medicines for his mental health condition. The complaint letter alleged that the harassment started when Sachin and one of his batchmates went to IIT Roorkee for an academic conference two days earlier than planned, which had apparently angered Ashish Kumar. The guide had also told Sachin that disciplinary action will be taken against him. Bhavesh also said that Sachin was barred from entering the lab by Ashish Kumar after the incident and was made to complete his lab-mate’s thesis as well.

Bhavesh told TNM that Sachin did not talk much about his life on campus but in the past 2-3 months. He also said that Sachin might have been worried that he will run out of money in the next few months and believed that this concern might have added to his worries.

In the complaint letter, Bhavesh alleged that Ashish must have said something harsh to Sachin which pushed him to suicide. Recounting meeting Ashish during Sachin’s last rites on April 1, Bhavesh said Ashish had offered some consolation but it did not sound convincing to him or his family members.

Reiterating that he has little faith in IIT Madras’s investigation, Bhavesh said, “I hope [the management] will have some humanity left. There have been three suicides in two months. And there is news that there are frequent suicide attempts as well. The management has to do something.” 

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584


Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222


Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.


State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm

Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.    

24x7 Helpline: 9820466726 

Click here for working helplines across India.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute