‘Sivia and dead professor were like brothers’

London, January 15: Devinder Sivia, mathematics lecturer at Oxford University who was held for the death of professor Steven Rawlings and later released, was “very, very good friends” with Rawlings and both were “like brothers”, the Indian-origin Sivia’s father has said. Eighty-year-old Gurbaksh Sivia said, “They were very, very good friends, inseparable friends. They were like brothers. My son is a good son and a dedicated teacher. He has very simple habits – he never drinks, he never smokes. It’s unimaginable.”

“They’ve been friends ever since they studied at Cambridge University together. I’ve known him for 20 years. When my son was ill, Steven would bring flowers and food to his house to help out,” the Daily Mail quoted Gurbaksh as saying. Gurbaksh, a retired maths teacher from Gravesend, Kent, said his son had called him up Wednesday after he was held by police, and said, “‘Dad, there’s been a tragedy and I’m in police custody under suspicion. It’s being investigated but I’m hoping it will be sorted out’.” The body of Steven Rawlings, a 50-year-old astrophysicist, was found at the home of Sivia in Oxfordshire Wednesday. Gurbaksh said the entire family was shocked. After learning about his son’s release, Sivia Senior said “Although this is some ray of good news, it is still a tragedy as Steven is not with us any more.”
Held for friend’s death, Sivia was wooed by British government Devinder Sivia was working with NASA earlier but had been wooed back by Britain to work in the country. Sivia’s brother Gurdip said the British and Australian governments had wanted Sivia to work for them after NASA. ”Eventually, the British government got him back and set him up in a laboratory at Oxford,” Daily Mail quoted Gurdip as saying. He said his brother had never been in a serious relationship since he was “married to his work”.
Sivia’s family had moved from India’s Punjab state when the mathematician was five. He was educated in England and studied science at Cambridge before moving to the US to work for NASA at their space centre for three years, the media report said. Oxford academic, now dead, suffered a breakdown last year
Oxford professor Steven Rawlings had suffered a breakdown last year and was “found wandering around the village in his dressing gown in the middle of the night”, a media report said. Rawlings had been suffering from stress in recent months, his friends claimed. A friend said he had spoken to Rawlings just hours before he died and said that he seemed troubled and was considering resigning from his post at Oxford. “I just can’t believe it – he was here in my house just the day before. He knocked on my door and wanted to chat,” Daily Telegraph quoted the friend as saying. “I could tell he wanted to get some things off his chest. He was thinking about the future and contemplating handing his notice in to St Peter’s College. He had a very intense job and he was a very intense person.” The friend added: “He had had a breakdown last year and on that occasion was found wandering around the village in his dressing gown in the middle of the night.” Not murder, says widow of Steven Rawlings The widow of Oxford professor Steven Rawlings has denied that her husband was murdered and termed as a “tragic accident” his death at the home of his close friend, an Indian-origin mathematician Devinder Sivia. Rawlings’ widow Linda said, “It wasn’t murder.” ”Steve and Devinder were best friends since college and I believe this is a tragic accident.” ”I do not believe that Steve’s death is murder and I do not believe Devinder should be tarnished in this way,” she was quoted as saying.