Published: 20th February 2020
IIT Madras researcher arrested for filming female student in washroom, granted bail
According to sources, the research assistant was an MTech student who was working as a research staff under one of the professors in the Department of Aerospace Engineering
The IIT Madras Research Assistant was arrested by the police and then granted bail for allegedly filming a woman student while she was using the washroom on campus. However, no videos were found on the perpetrator's phone but a case has been registered under Section 354C (voyeurism) of the IPC.
According to sources, the Research Assistant was an MTech student who was working on a research project under one of the professors in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. The incident occurred in the same department, where the men's and women's washrooms adjoin each other. Subham Banerjee, the accused, was apparently standing against the wall where a hole was present and had used that to shoot the victim using the restroom.
Students told us that holes such as these were commonplace when pipes were replaced in the older blocks. "Every year or so, the pipe in that bathroom starts to leak and there's always a hole there till it gets replaced. I heard that the man was standing outside and the woman noticed the camera and then ran out to catch him," an alumnus of the institute said.
The Hindu reported that after she found out she was being recorded, she locked Banerjee up in the men's bathroom, called for help and that the security guards later got a hold of him. The complainant is believed to have told the Kotturpuram Police that she had visited the bathroom on the ground floor of the department and while she was inside she realised that somebody had been filming her from the adjacent men's washroom.
The Kotturpuram Police said that the accused had denied filming anyone and that nothing had been found stored in the phone either. Police have said that they suspect that the accused might have deleted the videos and photos. The phone has been sent to the forensic lab to retrieve any deleted files. "We have registered a case under Section 354C (Voyeurism) of the Indian Penal Code and produced him before a magistrate court for remand. He was granted bail by the court. Our investigation will to find out if he was involved in any other offence," a police officer had said to the reporter.
IIT-M has been in the news over the last few months for various reasons from Fathima Latheef's suicide to most lately, the Krishna Gate issue. Ironically, the institute claimed that they shut down Krishna Gate in order to make the campus more safe for the female students. The students have been protesting against this decision, insisting that there were other ways to make the campus more secure and that shutting the gate was only going to inconvenience the students. There have been cases in the past where sexual assault on campus has made it to the front pages, in 2016 a student had complained that she had been sexually assaulted by a security guard.