Doctor killed at Delhi’s St Stephen’s Hospital was stalked for 2 years: Family

Family of Shashwat Pande, who was found murdered at St Stephen’s Hospital in north Delhi on Friday, alleged that the suspect had shown all intent to harm him but the hospital did little to protect the victim

delhi Updated: Aug 26, 2017 15:00 IST
Family and friends of Shashwat Pande, a DNB Radiology intern, at St Stephen’s Hospital in north Delhi on Friday.(Arun Sharma/HT Photo)

A resident doctor suspected of killing his colleague inside St Stephen’s Hospital had been suspended thrice since last year, after the victim filed multiple complaints against him with the hospital authorities as well as the police.

The repeated suspensions, however, did not deter the 27-year-old doctor from allegedly stalking, threatening and even attacking Shashwat Pande before finally slitting his throat in the hospital on Friday.

The harassment for Pande had begun ever since he joined the hospital as a postgraduate intern over two years ago. Pande and the suspect were in the radiology department.

According to Pande’s aunt and local guardian, Dr Shubhra Philips, the suspect had been “stalking” Pande right from the beginning. “When my nephew opposed the harassment, he would be threatened with physical harm and even death through WhatsApp messages,” alleged Philips.

Pande’s batchmates, who spoke as a group and did not want to be named, alleged that the suspect had even physically assaulted Pande in the past. A few months ago, the suspect attacked Pande with a landline phone. On another occasion, he had brought a knife to threaten Pande, alleged one of the doctors.

The students alleged that all doctors and authorities knew of the harassment as Pande had approached the authorities on numerous occasions. “The authorities had accumulated a fat pile of complaints which included written statements and evidence of threatening messages,” said another doctor.

Police sources said their probe revealed that the suspect had been suspended once last year, then last January and third time last month, a suspension that was in effect. The suspect, who lived outside, had even been barred from approaching Pande’s hostel.

“In January, Pande had submitted a written complaint to the local police but had taken it back soon after the two reached a compromise. The suspect had been reinstated at that time,” said a police officer.

During the latest suspension, the suspect’s access control card had neither been seized, nor deactivated by the hospital authorities, the doctors alleged.

“It allowed him to access the highly secured radiology department that is inaccessible even for doctors from other departments. That particular lapse allowed him to kill a doctor on duty and should have been protected by the hospital administration,” alleged another student.

According to the police, the suspect had used his access control card to gain uninterrupted entry into the radiology department where he slit Pande’s throat, broke the access control machine and left locking the door using a large lock.

It has also emerged that the suspect had not been removed from a WhatsApp group meant to coordinate the resident doctors. “The suspect could easily see the duty roster and know when Pande would be alone on duty,” the student alleged even as over 70 of them protested against the “unsafe working conditions” on Friday, forcing the OPD to close for the day.

Doctors also alleged that the suspect was suffering from mental illnesses and undergoing treatment for it but this could not be confirmed from either the police or the hospital authorities.

Though senior doctors at the hospital refused to comment on the allegations, a statement issued by Dr Sudhir Joseph, the hospital’s director, said all cooperation was being extended to the police in the probe. “We also want justice for the boy,” said Dr Joseph.

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 14:58 IST