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TN govt transfers IIT student suicide case to CBI

Pointing out to a directive from the Centre, the Tamil Nadu government has transferred the probe into the death of IIT-Madras student Fathima Latheef to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Madras high court had on Friday suggested that the probe ‘may be’ transferred to the central agency.

Fathima Latheef from Kerala’s Kozhikode had committed suicide in her hostel room in IIT-M campus on November 9. Her father Abdul Latheef had alleged that religious discrimination at the IIT-M campus had driven her to kill herself.

Preliminary police investigations suspected that the student, a native of Kerala, was depressed because of poor performance in the examinations. Police initially believed that her low marks were the reason behind taking the dire step.

However, her family claimed that her suicide note revealed she was constantly under harassment by her professor at IIT Madras and said, “it hurt her dignity”. Fathima Latheef’s father alleged that his daughter was subjected to religious discrimination by a faculty member.

The decision to hand over the probe to CBI comes 10 days after Fathima’s family met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, requesting for a fair probe into his daughter’s death. However, earlier on Friday, the Madras High Court suggested the probe may be transferred to the central agency.

Following her death on November 9, several protests were held within and outside the IIT-M campus. Shah had told the family that two investigations would be ordered — one related to Fathima’s death and other to reinvestigate all similar cases reported from higher institutions like IITs and IIMs till date.

Greater Chennai police commissioner A K Viswananthan on Saturday gave the proposal to transfer the case “as there are demands from various quarters for entrusting the investigation with the CBI.” Director-general of state police J K Tripathy concurred with it and recommended the transfer.