Congress students’ body seeks CBI probe into Fathima’s death

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death of Indian Institute of Technology- Madras student Fathima Latheef.

National Students Union of India, associated with the Congress party, has filed the case.

It has been listed for admission before a Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and N. Seshasayee on Friday.

In an affidavit filed on behalf of the students’ union, its State president N. Aswathaman, 27, stated that it had no faith in the State police and hence the probe must be transferred to the CBI. He pointed out that Ms. Latheef, hailing from Kollam in Kerala, had joined a postgraduate course in humanities and development studies at IIT-M in July 2019. Despite being a class topper, the girl was suspected to have committed suicide and her body was recovered from the hostel room on November 9.

Acting on the basis of a complaint lodged by the hostel warden claiming that the deceased was actually home sick and that could be the reason for her death, the Kotturpuram police here had registered a First Information Report and commenced investigation which was subsequently transferred to the Central Crime Branch police.

The petitioner pointed out that the girl’s father had suspected foul play in the death since there was a suicide note on her mobile phone. He also stated that totally five students had committed suicide in IIT-Madras campus between April 2018 and November 2019 and yet the institution had not addressed the problem.

Claiming that the probe by the local police would lack credibility, the petitioner insisted that the investigation be handed over to the CBI to instil confidence of a free and fair probe in the minds of the girl’s family and the general public. He also cited a few Supreme Court decisions in support of his case.

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