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Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Mumbai Mirror | May 4, 2015, 08.18 AM IST

By Arita Sarkar and Ankita Bhatkhande

A 21-year-old student of IIT Bombay in Powai, Jitesh Vijay Sharma, committed suicide on the terrace of one of the institute's hostel buildings on Saturday evening. A third year student of chemical engineering, Sharma left a suicide note in his room stating that he was under depression.

Prima-facie investigations by the Powai police revealed that Sharma had consumed a poisonous chemical called sodium azide and some bottles of chemicals were found at the spot, which the police have sent to the forensics. 

The police found Sharma's suicide note in his room written in Hindi, wherein Sharma had mentioned that he was soon to be placed in a good company but was worried about scoring less in his exams. The note also stated that Sharma is taking this step of his own will, the police said. 

While Sharma's classmates said he was academically weak and had backlogs in a few subjects, IIT officials said that he was suffering from depression and was seeking psychiatric help from the IIT counsellor, Amita Tagare. " His parents knew about his condition and the counsellor had told them to visit their son more often. He did show improvement in his academics," said an IIT official. 

Though Sharma was a resident of Hostel 8, his body was found on the terrace of hostel 15 by a first year computer engineering student around 6:30 pm on Saturday. His body was then taken to the hospital in the institute premises where he was declared dead on arrival. "The body was later taken to Rajawadi hospital in Ghatkopar for post mortem," said a fourth year chemical engineering student on condition of anonymity. 

Sharma's classmates described him as "a quiet and an introvert guy who hardly hung out with his classmates or partied". 

The IIT Placement cell confirmed that he was the Associate placement coordinator at the institute and was also the coordinator of the E-Cell of the college. Students from Sharma's hostel stated that Sharma was supposed to leave for Rohtak, his hometown, on Saturday. 

IIT PRO Rashmi Uday Kumar said that the institute was shocked about the incident. "The student was academically weak, but was showing improvement. The institute's administration will have an internal deliberation on what can be done to prevent such an incident in future," Kumar said. 

Sharma's body was handed over to his businessman father and his uncle.The police said the body will then be taken to his house in Rohtak, Haryana.The police are now investigating the CCTV footage of both Sharma's as well the hostel where he consumed poison. 

IIT-Bombay had strengthened its counselling facilities after a similar incident occurred in September last year. A fifth year student Aniket Ambhore, who was also suffering from depression, fell to death from the sixth floor of one of the hostels. 

Apart from a new Facebook page for online counselling, the institute has also started a new counselling office to ensure privacy of the students seeking help from IIT counsellors.