The deceased was identified as Jitesh Sharma (21), originally a resident of Rohtak in Haryana. According to the police, Sharma allegedly killed himself by drinking a chemical called sodium azide, and was found dead on the terrace of hostel number 15, which is half a kilometre away from hostel 8, where Sharma used to stay.
A fellow student found Sharma near the terrace lift between 6.30 pm and 7 pm on Saturday. When he was unable to wake Sharma up, he informed the institute authorities and Sharma was taken to the campus hospital, where he was declared dead. The police were also informed.
A suicide note written in Hindi was also found from Sharma’s room. Rajeev Chauhan, police inspector, Powai police station, said, “The suicide note said he was depressed, as he was not doing well in studies. (It said) He regretted his choice of academic course (at IIT).”
Sharma is said to have been a quiet boy and not very social, and was also undergoing counselling with the campus psychiatrist for the past one year, said a police officer.
According to fellow students, he was supposed to leave for Rohtak on Friday, but had to cancel his trip at the eleventh hour. Sharma was also struggling to cope with studies at IIT-Bombay, but was putting in efforts, another student added. “He had barely managed to pass the previous few semesters and only recently had he started coping. It’s really sad that he took academics so seriously that he took his life for the same,” said a student.
Sharma’s body was sent to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar for a post-mortem. His father, a businessman in Rohtak, flew down to the city along with a relative to take its custody and left yesterday.
Police have also recovered the bottle which had the chemical that Sharma allegedly drank, and are investigating as to how he procured the substance. They are also looking at CCTV footage for further leads.
Confirming the incident, Rashmi Uday Kumar, public relations officer, IIT-Bombay, told mid-day, “He’s a resident of hostel number 8 and when another student went to the terrace of building number 15 for a walk, he found Jitesh unconscious. There were many bottles of soft drinks lying around and there was froth coming from his mouth, and this student immediately contacted the officials at the institute.” She added that Sharma, originally from Rohtak, was a third-year Chemical Engineering student and wasn’t doing very well academically.
— Inputs by Shreya Bhandary