THE 23-YEAR-old student who committed suicide on Monday evening by jumping off the 19th floor hotel window at Taj Land’s End hotel in Bandra West was depressed and addicted to online gambling, his friends said in their statement to the police. Arjun Bharadwaj, a third-year student of economics at Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, had also posted a Facebook live video prior to committing suicide giving a step-wise “tutorial” on how to commit suicide. The video went viral and Bharadwaj then broke the window of his hotel room and jumped to his death at around 6.30 pm. “We have recorded the statement of the hotel’s security manager, friends and father of the deceased. Bharadwaj’s friends told us he was depressed and also addicted to online gambling. We are investigating if he lost money online in this regard,” said an officer at Bandra police station.
According to the officer, Taj officials are gathering details of Bharadwaj’s stay at the hotel and will send a dossier to the police soon. The boy’s father, Chitur Harinarayan Bharadwaj, a retired IT professional, has come from Bengaluru to complete the last rites. Bandra police will call him after a few days to talk to him further. According to another senior police official, Bharadwaj had also recently failed in a subject and was distraught. “He had written a nine-page suicide note on the hotel notepad in which he said that he had failed in an exam and had been depressed. He even apologised to his parents and friends for taking the extreme step and also left a note for his younger brother,” the senior official said. Bharadwaj, who lived in the students’ hostel at Narsee Monjee College, had checked into the hotel in the wee hours of Monday, the police say.
“He checked in at 3.30 am and used the name ‘Milind Mehra’. He took up the sea facing suite no 1925 on the 19th floor. Between 6.15 pm to 6.20 pm, he made the Facebook live video in which he had tagged the hotel’s location. In the video he indicated he was going to take the drastic step and said goodbye to his friends. Some of his friends who saw the video quickly called up the Taj hotel and informed them about the situation. It was then that people heard banging on the 19th floor window,” the officer at Bandra police station said.
Bharadwaj had broken a leg of the table in his hotel room and was using it as a hammer to break the window. “The hotel’s windows are very strong. He proceeded to hit the glass for two to three minutes. At the same time, the hotel’s security officer and other staff had gathered outside the room with a master key and were telling him not to do anything drastic. Bharadwaj had put up the safety lock, so it took the staff some time to gain entry. Just as they broke down the door and entered the room, Bharadwaj managed to break the window and jumped instantly. The staff were just a couple of seconds away from saving him,” the officer added. Bharadwaj fell on the parapet of the lobby and died on the spot, the police say. His post-mortem was conducted at Cooper Hospital on Tuesday where doctors declared head injury as primary cause of death. The body had multiple abrasions, fractured ribs, and sustained major injury on the chest and abdomen.
A team of forensic experts, under Dr Shashank Waghmare, visited Taj Lands End hotel to ascertain circumstances that led to the death. “It seemed he consumed alcohol. We have preserved viscera samples for further chemical analysis,” a forensic expert said. Bharadwaj’s liver and stomach were found ruptured. Doctors claim they were unable to ascertain presence of drugs in the body before he committed suicide. “For that we need laboratory results,” the forensic expert said. A Taj spokesperson called the incident “unfortunate” and said the hotel staff were assisting the police in the investigation. Police have registered an accidental death report in the matter.