Friends and classmates of the 20-year-old student of Vivekanand Education Society's College of Arts, Science and Commerce arrested on Sunday on charges of raping a junior from the same college, refused to believe he could have committed such an act.
“I know him as a shy introvert. I still can’t believe he could do such a thing,” said a friend of the accused, who like most other students, did not wish to be identified.
She claimed she knew the 20-year-old for the last couple of years and said he was a reserved person who hardly mingled with anyone. “I never noticed him look at a girl with bad intentions. He seemed the kind who could harm anybody,” the friend added.
The families of the accused and the victim were not available for comment.
Sources said the accused was his parents’ only son. He has two sisters, who are married.
Sources added that his family had taken great pains to educate him and had hoped he would bail them out of their poverty.
Faculty members, who often passed by the accused and the victim in the college corridors, were stunned by the allegations.
“I am shocked,” said J. K. Phadnis, principal of Vivekanand Education Society's College of Arts, Science and Commerce at Chembur. “We do not plan to take any action against the boy unless he is proved guilty.”
Phadnis added that the college would provide students with counselling, if necessary.
Another close friend of the accused, said, “As far as I know, they (the victim and the accused) were just friends. I can’t believe he could do something like this.”
Most other students who knew the accused expressed disbelief.
“He used to barely interact with his classmates and had four or five friends but was tech savvy and extremely active virtually,” another student said.
Another student said the boy “had a fake attitude” and roamed around college with cameras and made videos during the college festival.
He added that he did not interact much with girls but had been friendly with the victim for some time.
“I really feel bad for her. She is a nice girl,” said another student.
A batch mate of the accused who got to know the boy during the college festival said he was not too inclined towards studies.
“He had dropped a year and was also on the attendance defaulters’ list,” the student added.