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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Did Payal Tadvi commit suicide? SC-ST committee to tell this week

Intact lock, height of ceiling raise doubts over suicide claims, say panel members

mumbai Updated: Jun 05, 2019 01:12 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Dr. Payal Tadvi, a 26-year-old PG medical student at BYL Nair Hospital, committed suicide in her hostel room.
Dr. Payal Tadvi, a 26-year-old PG medical student at BYL Nair Hospital, committed suicide in her hostel room. (HT Photo)

After a spot investigation into the suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi, a student doctor at the BYL Nair Hospital, a committee set up by the Scheduled Caste-Scheduled Tribe (SC-ST) Commission of Maharashtra has raised the question of whether this is a homicide case. The committee is expected to submit its findings this week.

The state SC-ST commission instituted a four-member committee on May 27, led by former Indian Police Services (IPS) officer and president of the commission, Vijay Kamble. The committee comprises former Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer Madhukar Gaikwad, former justice CL Thool and member secretary of the commission, Dr Sandesh Wagh.

The committee has raised the question of whether there was any foul play in Dr Tadvi’s death. She allegedly committed suicide on May 22. “We measured the distance between the fan and the bed to be about 8.5 to 9 feet. Considering there was no table or stool in the room to perch atop, it’s practically difficult to reach the fan using a short scarf that was allegedly used by Dr Tadvi to hang her,” said a member of the commission.

The commission also noted that the lock was intact from inside, contrary to the police’s claim that the room was broken into by security guards and doctors who found Dr Tadvi’s body. The members also questioned how the three accused were able to see inside the room through a gap between the door panels, as detailed in the first information report (FIR).

Dr Wagh said the committee had asked investigating agencies to send pictures of scarf used to commit suicide, the viscera report from Kalina Forensic Laboratory, a month’s CCTV footage of the ward and hostel floor where Dr Tadvi lived and worked, and a copy of the inquest panchnama. The committee has also questioned why Dr Tadvi’s previous complaints of harassment had not been reported to the police.

The hospital’s anti-ragging committee said in its report, submitted on May 29, that Dr Tadvi had faced “extreme harassment” over her tribal identity and being a quota student. “It was evident that Payal was harassed over her caste and tribe,” a member of the committee told PTI on condition of anonymity.