Payal Tadvi case: Three senior doctors of Mumbai's BYL Nair Hospital remanded in police custody till 31 May

In the Payal Tadve suicide case, the three senior doctors, arrested on account of abetting the suicide of their junior, have been remanded in police custody till 31 May

FP Staff May 29, 2019 08:38:15 IST
Payal Tadvi case: Three senior doctors of Mumbai's BYL Nair Hospital remanded in police custody till 31 May
  • In the Payal Tadve suicide case, the third doctor Ankita Khandelwal, accused of abetting the suicide of her junior female colleague by tormenting her with casteist slurs has been arrested

  • On Tuesday, the Agripada police arrested Bhakti Mehere after initial interrogation in the same case

  • Tadvi hanged herself last Wednesday, following which the 26-year-old's family alleged that the senior doctors tortured her by ragging and hurling casteist abuses as she belonged to a Scheduled Tribe

Mumbai: The three senior doctors accused of abetting the suicide of Payal Tadvi have been remanded in police custody till 31 May by Additional Sessions Judge RM Sadrani.

The judge accepted the prosecution's arguments seeking their custody for interrogation to ascertain if they misplaced or destroyed Tadvi's purported suicide note.

The two doctors, Ankita Khandelwal and Hema Ahuja, were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Agripada police arrested the third doctor, Bhakti Mehere, after initial interrogation in the same case, an officer told PTI.

Mehere, Khandelwal and Ahuja were booked after Payal committed suicide, the police said. All three moved an anticipatory bail application before the sessions court in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The trio has been booked under relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Anti-Ragging Act, the IT Act and Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

Tadvi hanged herself last Wednesday, following which the 26-year-old's family alleged that the senior doctors tortured her by ragging and hurling casteist abuses as she belonged to a Scheduled Tribe.

Tadvi's parents protested at the State-run hospital in Mumbai where she worked. Other protesters also joined Tadvi's mother Abedam and husband Salman, demanding stringent action against the three seniors.

Payal Tadvi case Three senior doctors of Mumbais BYL Nair Hospital remanded in police custody till 31 May

Payal Tadvi. Image/Facebook

The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, and other Dalit and tribal organisations held protests outside the BYL Nair Hospital. Abeda asked whether the government would take responsibility for the safety of students like her daughter, who are pursuing higher education.

"Payal used to tell me about the torture which she was facing by her seniors on petty issues. They threw files on her face in front of patients," she said. "Payal used to tell me not to give a written complaint against her seniors despite being harassed by them. She would say that doing so would adversely impact their career," Abeda said.

She claimed Tadvi would have been the first woman MD (doctor of medicine) from their community. Salman, a doctor, said it was possible that Tadvi was "murdered" by the three women doctors.

Expressing solidarity with the protesters and with Tadvi's family, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said he would visit Maharashtra if needed to "fight for justice for our younger sister".

The state women's commission has also taken cognisance of the matter and issued a notice to the hospital authorities. On Tuesday, it wrote a letter to the Mumbai police commissioner, seeking a thorough investigation.

The panel, which termed the case "very serious", has sought a report from the police within eight days, an official said. It said there was a need to take stringent action against the accused under sections of abetment to suicide, the SC/ST Act and Anti-Ragging Act, the official said.

In a related development, the anti-ragging committee of Nair Hospital submitted its report in Tadvi's suicide case to the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences. "We have submitted our sealed report to the MUHS," said Ramesh Bharmal, dean, Nair Hospital, who did not reveal any details of the report, saying it was confidential.

"We are cooperating with the police in their investigation and providing whatever help they want," Bharmal told PTI. In the morning, Minister for Medical Education Girish Mahajan visited the hospital and also met the protesters and parents of the victim, the official said.

The Mumbai Congress demanded that all the three doctors booked in the case be tried in a fast-track court. A delegation led by of Mumbai Congress president Milind Deora met Joint CP (Law and Order) Vinay kumar Chaube and made the demand.

In a statement, the Mumbai Congress said Tadvi's suicide was unfortunate and a serious issue.

"The Tadvi family should get justice. The three doctors should be punished severely. A message should go out in Mumbai and Maharashtra that there is no place for casteism in educational institutions," it said.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said those accused of abetting Tadvi's suicide should be booked under IPC Section 302 (murder). She demanded that Mahajan take a review of all anti-ragging committees in education institutions in the state.

Gorhe said the issue would be raised in the state legislature session starting from 17 June.

The three accused had on Monday sought a "fair probe" in the case.

In a letter to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), the accused said they wanted the college to conduct a fair investigation in the matter and "give justice" to them. "This is not the way to do an investigation through the police force and media pressure, without hearing our side," the three doctors said in the letter. The MARD suspended the three doctors.

"We have credible inputs that the three doctors made casteist remarks against Dr Payal Tadvi, who allegedly committed suicide. We will cooperate with the police for the further investigation," a senior MARD official said.

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