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Dr Payal Tadvi suicide case: Court extends custody of 3 accused till June 21

Next hearing on Monday; Special court tells state to make arrangements to video record the trial

mumbai Updated: Jun 11, 2019 00:41 IST
Hindustan Times
Payal Tadvi,Nair hospital suicide,BYL Nair Hospital
Dr Payal Tadvi, 26, was a second-year student and resident doctor at BYL Nair Hospital. On May 22, she committed suicide.(HT PHOTO)

A special court under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on Monday extended judicial custody of the three doctors charged with abetting the suicide of postgraduate student Dr Payal Tadvi. The court also asked the state to make arrangements to record the trial and related proceedings on video. The three doctors, who had to be removed after they broke down in court, will remain in judicial custody till June 21. The next hearing will be on June 17.

Dr Payal Tadvi, 26, was a second-year student and resident doctor at BYL Nair Hospital. On May 22, she committed suicide. Her family alleged that she was driven to take the step because the three accused, also doctors at BYL Nair Hospital, harassed Dr Tadvi for her tribal identity and being a quota student.

The three accused, Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehare and Dr Ankita Khandelwal, were produced before the special court on Monday. Special public prosecutor Raja Thakare said, there were suspicions that the accused may have tampered with evidence on the day Dr Tadvi committed suicide. According to CCTV footage accessed by the police, two of the accused did not join the staff who had taken Dr Tadvi for treatment, after breaking her door down and finding her body. Instead, two of the accused returned to her room and were seen remaining there for at least five minutes. The police alleged the doctors’ duty would have been to accompany Dr Tadvi to the hospital to get her treatment, but their decision to return to the scene of the suicide shows different intentions. So far, no suicide note has been found and police are yet to check the deceased’s call data record.

Special public prosecutor Raja Thakare pleaded the court to remand the accused in judicial custody and the court extended it to June 21. Meanwhile, during the hearing, advocate Dr Gunaratan Sadavarte, appearing for Dr Tadvi’s family, pleaded that it is mandatory to video record the proceedings and asked the court for video record proceedings in the case henceforth. He pleaded that Dr Tadvi’s family must be heard before passing an order.

The court observed that the proceedings held on Monday could not be video recorded for want of due arrangement, but asked the state to make arrangements for video recording for the next hearing on June 17. Disappointed by the delay in hearing of their bail plea, the doctors broke down and told the court they could not stay in jail any longer. They also claimed the prosecution has cameras to record the proceedings. After they raised their voices, the accused were taken out of the courtroom.

The prosecution said it would submit its reply to the accused’s bail plea at the next hearing.

First Published: Jun 11, 2019 00:38 IST