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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Dr Payal Tadvi suicide case: Doctors destroyed suicide note, cops say in charge sheet

The crime branch has charged the three senior doctors arrested in the case with destruction of evidence — apart from abetment to suicide and ragging

mumbai Updated: Jul 24, 2019 01:13 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times
Dr Payal Tadvi, a postgraduate student at Mumbai’s BYL Nair Hospital was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her room on May 22 this year.
Dr Payal Tadvi, a postgraduate student at Mumbai’s BYL Nair Hospital was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her room on May 22 this year. (Ht FILE)
         

The Mumbai crime branch on Tuesday filed its charge sheet in the suicide case of Dr Payal Tadvi, the 26-year-old postgraduate student at Mumbai’s BYL Nair Hospital who was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her room on May 22 this year.

In the 1,203-page document, the crime branch has charged the three senior doctors arrested in the case with destruction of evidence — apart from abetment to suicide and ragging — after investigations showed that they may have destroyed Tadvi’s original suicide note.

The doctors — Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehare and Dr Ankita Khandelwal — are in judicial custody. They were arrested a week after the suicide. The crime branch has charged them under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sections of the Scheduled Caste and Tribes Atrocities Act, the Anti-Ragging Act and the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The destruction of evidence charge was added after the crime branch found a photograph of Tadvi’s suicide note on her phone.

Soon after the suicide in May, investigating officers from Agripada police station seized Tadvi’s phone from her room, but they did not find a note.

With Tadvi’s family alleging that she had been driven to commit suicide after harassment over her caste by the accused doctors, the police arrested them and transferred the case to the crime branch. During the probe, the agency recovered CCTV footage from a camera outside Tadvi’s room.

The footage showed how two of the accused doctors did not help the rest of the staff take Tadvi for treatment.

Instead, they were seen walking into Tadvi’s room, where they stayed for at least five minutes. The crime branch claimed in its charge sheet that the doctors destroyed the note during this time.To corroborate the charge, the agency has reports from forensic experts who looked at Tadvi’s phone.

The experts recovered the image of a suicide note in which Tadvi details the harassment by the three accused doctors.

The crime branch was informed about the note earlier this month, after which it questioned the three doctors about it.

The agency has now asked the court for permission to interrogate the doctors to find out how they allegedly destroyed the note.

The note itself is still to be found.

Apart from the note, the crime branch has recorded the statements of 274 witnesses, which are now part of the charge sheet.

The list of witnesses include hospital staff and Tadvi’s colleague.

The crime branch claims it has enough evidence to show that Tadvi was harassed by the three senior doctors.