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Darshan Solanki Case: Chargesheet Mentions Last Interactions, Tiff With Student

Darshan Solanki’s last interaction was with his roommate around an hour before his death, the chargesheet revealed.

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The 473-page chargesheet with over 55 statements filed by the Mumbai Police on 30 May,revealed that Darshan Solanki had a tiff with fellow student Arman Khatri in his last few days, and that he was afraid of his friends finding out about his caste over the past few months.

Darshan died by suicide at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay on 12 February this year. Hailing from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Darshan belonged to the Dalit community.  

As reported by The Indian Express, the chargesheet, which has recorded the statements of his parents and sister, fellow students, professors and assistant professors, names Arman as the only accused. In the chargesheet, police claimed that a series of events that started in February led him to take the drastic step.

Here’s what the chargesheet reveals about the events that led up to his death:  

Tiff With Student Over Remark

The police claimed that around 9 February, Darshan had allegedly made a communal remark that had hurt Khatri’s feelings. However, the chargesheet does not mention any details about the remark.

On 10 February, Darshan had sent Arman an apology via text message. He also told him that he was leaving the institute and the city.  

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Arman had not responded to these messages. However, witnesses said that Solanki told them that Khatri threatened him saying that even if he left the city, he would find him and not let him get away.

On 10 February, Darshan had asked Arman about the contents of his bag, to which Arman replied that he had a pen, a book and a paper cutter. When asked about the paper cutter, Arman allegedly said that he wanted to get even with someone.

These developments allegedly scared Darshan, who came down with a fever on 11 February. Witnesses said that Darshan was nervous after his interaction with Arman. His friends told him that anyone would feel bad about a communal remark and that it was nothing to worry about.  

On 12 February, the day of Darshan's death, he had gone for breakfast with Arman and others, revealed statements. They later hung out in Darshan's room and played a game on his laptop.  

Call With Family, Interaction With Roommate: Darshan's Last Moments

Darshan's last interaction was with his roommate at around 12 pm that day, around an hour before his death, where his roommate complimented his appearance. At 12.20 pm, he spoke to his family where he told them that he would come home after two days and wanted a get-together with all his relatives.  

Around 40 minutes after the call, Darshan died by suicide. The chargesheet does not throw light on what happened in those 40 minutes.  

On 3 March, a handwritten note was found in his room that read, ‘Arman has killed me’. Khatri was arrested on the basis of this note. Later, he was granted bail by a Special Court that said that mere allegations in a suicide note were not enough to conclude that he had abetted suicide.   

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However, Ramesh Solanki, Darshan’s father had alleged that the Special Investigation Team (SIT), Mumbai Police was ruling out caste since one student was named in the note. He had sought for the police to investigate the ostracisation and isolation that his son felt due to his caste identity.

In May, Ramesh Solanki told The Quint, “We have submitted all evidence. Janvi (Darshan’s elder sister) has also stated that Darshan confided in her about facing caste-based discrimination on campus. Why is the SIT not investigating into these testimonies and trying to find out who are those students who discriminated and harassed Darshan for his caste?”   

Worries About Friends Finding Out About Caste 

Statements by his family revealed that Darshan had to fill up a scholarship form in December and was worried about his friends finding out about his caste. His sister had allegedly asked him to seek guidance from other students belonging to the community.  

A few days later, he called her and told her that he had spoken to a few seniors who advised him not to mention his caste anywhere and that if he did, he would face mental harassment and ragging like them. His sister’s statements say that he had told her about conversations with fellow students about scholarships given to students belonging to oppressed castes. Students would allegedly taunt him about students from the SC community getting ‘free education’.  

Janvi, a final-year student of Master's in Computer Application at an Ahmedabad-based university, had earlier told The Quint, “When he found himself stuck using a laptop, his friends used to mock him saying ‘you don’t even know this much’. Whenever he used to go for group study sessions or even dinner, his batch mates used to say, ‘Dekho Dalit aa gaya’."  

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Stating that the family’s statements do not mention any specific person with regards to allegations of caste discrimination, SIT officials said that they have not been able to gather any evidence on the same. The only specific allegation of caste discrimination is where Darshan told his family that after he told some of his friends including his roommate about his caste, they started avoiding him.  

The chargesheet includes his academic record too. Fellow students' statements revealed that he lost interest in studies after performing poorly in his mid-semester exam. They also said that he was allegedly contemplating leaving the institute and joining a private college.

On the contrary, his sister’s statements say that he had told her that he would continue to focus on studies even after all the struggles and complete his education at the institute.  

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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