ON NOVEMBER 15, 25-year-old Soham Mukherjee was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his hostel room at the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow. While the UP Police went on declare it as a case of suicide, his family has now written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief minister Yogi Adityanath and the UP DGP, alleging foul play in the death.
In the letter, dated December 20, Soham’s family — residents of Lake Gardens in Kolkata — had claimed that the postmortem examination report spoke of “ante mortem (before death) wounds” and highlighted the alleged apathy of the police to hand over documents related to the case.
Soham’s mother Pranati Bandopadhyay (59) said she believed her son had not committed suicide. “I have shown the postmortem report to doctors here. They have highlighted that there were ante mortem wounds on the body. Moreover, the police initially said that they broke open the hostel door and found him hanging. But the students said the door was not bolted from inside. My son’s wallet, which had his Aadhaar card, are also missing.”
While Pranati works with PTI, her husband Niharendu Mukherjee (61) is a retired journalist.
“On December 20, I wrote to the UP DGP, saying that my letter should be treated as an FIR. I forwarded the same Kolkataletter to the UP CM and the Prime Minister. So far nothing has happened,” she said.
Pranati said she spoke to Soham — a second-year marketing management student — on November 13. “He joked with me and his father. He was not depressed. When I asked him if he needed money, he said he had around Rs 80,000 in his bank account. When we checked later, a little over Rs 700 was left in his account,” she claimed.
The letter (accessed by The Indian Express) stated, “The circumstances under which the body was recovered and disposed off by police have raised suspicion and gives indication of foul play in the death of my son…”
“On our demand, the police handed over to us an illegible copy of the postmortem report. They neither showed or gave the copies of the inquest report and the seizure list. The police said they seized Soham’s laptop, two phones, one iPhone and a diary. The diary was returned to us on 16/11/2017 as it is a travelogue….” it added.
The family claimed that on December 9, they wrote to Madiaon police Station House Officer Raghwan Kumar Singh, requesting that they be handed over copies of Soham’s panchnama, inquest report and list of things seized at the time of his death. They are yet to receive a reply to the letter.
Lucknow Assistant Superintendent of Police Meenakshi Katyayan, said: “We had visited the incident spot. The dog squad was also called in. We spoke to the classmates of the deceased and some in the IIM administration. Prima facia it looked to be a case of suicide. A diary was recovered, which indicated that he felt depressed sometimes.”
Maintaining that the hostel room door was not bolted from inside, she added: “We are ready for a detailed investigation. If the parents can share some inputs with us, they are welcome. We want the family to get justice.”
Soham’s mother rued that while the investigation was on, his room has been cleared on December 7.
Nishant Uppal, chairman of student’s affair at IIM-L, said: “Regarding this, we had sent the parents a notice two weeks after the incident, but there was no response. Rooms are at a premium in the hostel… Police handed over the keys to us… It is for them to probe the incident. We are going by the police theory…”