Security personnel use water cannon to disperse Youth Congress activists during their protest demanding a CBI probe into the death of Sidharthan JS, a second-year student of the Kerala Veterinary & Animal Sciences University, outside the Kerala Secretariat, in Thiruvananthapuram, Thursday, March 7, 2024.
Security personnel use water cannon to disperse Youth Congress activists during their protest demanding a CBI probe into the death of Sidharthan JS, a second-year student of the Kerala Veterinary & Animal Sciences University, outside the Kerala Secretariat, in Thiruvananthapuram, Thursday, March 7, 2024.

CBI all set to take over probe in Kerala veterinary student's death

New Delhi | The CBI is all set to take over probe into the death of 20-year-old veterinary student Sidharthan J S, whose body was found hanging inside the bathroom of the college hostel in Kerala's Wayanad district on February 18, officials said.

Sidharthan was subjected to ragging by fellow students, including activists of CPI-M's students' wing SFI, his family had alleged demanding a CBI inquiry.

The agency is awaiting a reference from the Centre after which it will re-register the FIR filed by Kerala Police as its own case, officials said.

Once the case is re-registered, a team of CBI officials will visit the state soon with the forensics team for taking over documents from the local police and start investigation, they said.

According to the procedure, the CBI starts a probe in such state referred cases by re-registering the FIR of local police. The findings which are submitted in the form of a final report to a court after the completion of probe can be completely different from allegations in the FIR.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had assured a CBI probe on March 9 after political uproar. The issue snowballed into a political controversy with opposition Congress and BJP alleging the government was yet to hand over necessary files to the CBI weeks after the assurance.

The Kerala government had recently suspended three employees of the Home Department alleging "dereliction and unresponsiveness" in handing over documents and details to the CBI with regard to the investigation.

Anju, who was serving as an assistant, section officer Bindhu V K and deputy secretary Prasantha V K were placed under suspension by Home Secretary Bishwanath Sinha.

Besides the opposition, the deceased student's family also came out against the government, alleging that it was deliberately trying to delay the CBI probe without handing them over the necessary files and by destroying the evidence.

In the suspension order, the government made it clear that the order handing over the probe to the central agency was issued on the March 9 itself.

But it was only on March 26 that the file was submitted along with the pro forma report and all other necessary documents in this regard.

"It has taken 17 days for the office to send all the required details in the prescribed method to the competent authority in the government of India, requesting for investigation by CBI in a serious and sensitive matter," the order further said.

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the NDA candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, had assured the student's family of expediting the launch of the CBI investigation into the death.

The Congress-led UDF had also accused the Left government and the police of trying to save those responsible for the death of the student by delaying the transfer of the case to the CBI.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan had alleged that by delaying handover of the case to CBI, the state government and the police were also trying to destroy evidence in the case.

His statements on his Facebook page came after the father of the deceased student met Satheesan at his official residence.

The opposition leader, in his post, said Sidharthan's father -- Jayaprakash -- and family were worried that the alleged killers of the student were being protected by the government, police and CPI(M) leaders.

After meeting Satheesan, the father claimed that his son was being harassed for eight months before his death according to a news report after Sidharathan's death.

He also claimed various senior SFI leaders were "camping" at the college for several months and his son was allegedly made to strip and sit on his knees.

"They were all aware of what was going on. They could have put an end to it back then. I cannot believe that the senior SFI leaders were unaware of what was happening there," he said.

The victim's father also claimed that some women students were named in the anti-ragging squad's report, but no police action has been taken against them or the dean.

A controversial order issued by the college reinstating 33 students who had been suspended earlier in connection with the student's death was cancelled after Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who is the chancellor of the university, intervened.

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