Third Mumbai doctor, accused of abetting junior colleague’s suicide, held
The third doctor accused of driving a 26-year-old postgraduate medical student at state-run BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai to suicide has been arrested, news agency ANI reported on Wednesday.
According to ANI, Dr Ankita Khandelwal was arrested by Mumbai Police and will be produced before a court on Wednesday. The other doctors — Bhakti Mehre and Hema Ahuja — were arrested on Tuesday.
The family of Dr Payal Tadvi has accused all the three doctors of driving their daughter to suicide on May 22 by discriminating against her on the grounds of her caste. A student of gynaecology and a resident doctor at BYL Nair Hospital, Dr Tadvi belonged to the tribal Tadvi Bhil community.
The police have registered a case against Dr Khandelwal, Dr Ahuja and Dr Mehare under section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sections of the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act, Anti-Ragging Act and Information Technology Act, 2000.
They have also questioned Dr Yi Ching Ling, who headed the unit that Dr Payal Tadvi was a part of, and Dr SD Shirodkar, head of the gynaecology department at BYL Nair Hospital on Tuesday. Statements of other hospital employees have also been recorded.
An anti-ragging committee appointed by Maharashtra’s health department said on Tuesday that it had found prima facie evidence that Dr Khandelwal, Dr Ahuja and Dr Mehare had subjected Dr Tadvi to casteist comments.
The three accused have claimed they did not know Dr Tadvi’s caste or community.
“If the deceased had chosen to simply abstain from coming to the hospital when she was expected there and there were responsibilities to be performed by her from November 2018 to December 2018, if the deceased was labelled as a person who runs away (bhagoda), it cannot be said that it amounted to any kind of abetment to suicide or offences under the Prevention of SC/ST Act,” they said in their bail plea.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken a suo moto cognisance of the matter and written to the hospital administration, requesting to appraise it with the action taken in the case.
“The NCW is deeply disturbed ... It is a matter of serious concern,” NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote in the letter addressed to the hospital’s director Dr Avinas Supe.
On Monday, the Maharashtra State Commission for Women had also issued a notice to the dean of the BYL Nair Hospital seeking a report on the action taken in the case.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has suspended the three doctors. The doctors accused of abetting Dr Tadvi’s suicide wrote to the association on Monday urging to ensure a “fair” probe into the issue.
(With agency inputs)
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