Relatives of a student of a city college, who allegedly committed suicide, are grappling with unanswered questions about his death.
Aritra Mukherjee, a third-year ECE student of VIT University in Chennai, is said to have jumped to his death from the seventh floor of his college, on March 21. On being informed, his family rushed from Singur (West Bengal).
Relatives allege the college not only barred them from accessing his belongings, including his mobile phone, but also did not answer questions relating to the alleged suicide.
“He had spoken to his mother 45 minutes before his death and asked her to book tickets for him and his friend. He sounded very excited about getting back home for Holi,” said Purnendu Mukherjee, the student’s uncle.
College officials don’t agree.
“Aritra’s mobile phone had about 20 messages that he had exchanged with a classmate. The messages revolved around his love for her and how his parents were not happy with it. In fact, a few minutes before he jumped off the building, he had drafted a letter to his mother saying he really loved the woman. All these point to a case of suicide,” said a college official, adding that the matter was communicated to the boy’s mother on March 22.
“Considering his father was a heart patient, we did not show the parents these messages,” said the official.
He, however, said the cell phone was shown to the other relatives who had accompanied the parents.
The student’s cousin, Utsab Mukherjee, who was in Chennai to receive the body, said, “They only showed us the messages sent by the girl. The ones sent by Aritra were missing. If he was contemplating suicide, why would he ask his mother to organise tickets for him to return home with a friend, just an hour before the incident.”
According to Mr. Mukherjee, Aritra had a ligament injury, which would have made it difficult for him to climb up to the seventh floor of the newly constructed building.
“The college officials told us the police had sealed Aritra’s room. When contacted, the police refuted the claim,” said Mr. Mukherjee.
“The college officials did not allow us to speak to his friends. Aritra had been to a football match only a day before and had played video games with his friends. He had attended labs in the morning. We are not blaming the college, but we want them to be transparent and tell us whatever happened.”
However, the college officials maintained the cell phone was in police custody. “The room was sealed by the police, not by us. We did ask the parents to come and take the belongings after the investigation, but they refused to do so.”
When contacted, police officials said they were investigating the matter and could comment only after the post-mortem report was obtained.