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Nair Hospital suicide case: 2 more doctors arrested; all 3 sent to police custody

Texts recovered from a messaging group indicate Dr Payal Tadvi was insulted, cop tells court

mumbai Updated: May 30, 2019 09:39 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Nair Hospital,Dr Payal Tadvi
Dr Payal Tadvi’s family and All India Students Federation (AISF) staged a protest outside BYL Nair Hospital. (HT Photo)

Agripada police arrested the two absconding doctors who have been accused of abetting the suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi, a 26-year-old postgraduate medical student of BYL Nair Hospital. Dr Ankita Khandelwal and Dr Hema Ahuja were arrested on Wednesday morning. Later. they were produced before a special court for cases registered under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act along with Dr Bhakti Mehare, the third accused who was arrested on Tuesday. The three have been remanded in police custody till Friday.

Dr Khandelwal, Dr Ahuja and Dr Mehare have been charged under section 306 (abetting suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sections of the Scheduled Caste and Tribes Atrocities Act, the Anti-Ragging Act and the Information Technology Act, 2000. According to Dr Tadvi’s family, the three accused, who are third-year students at BYL Nair Hospital, subjected Dr Tadvi to casteist slurs and drove her to suicide. Dr Tadvi was a second-year student at the same hospital and committed suicide on May 22. No suicide note has been found.

On Wednesday, the investigating officer told the court that messages recovered from a work group on Whatsapp indicate Dr Tadvi was insulted by the accused. Public prosecutors Veena Shelar and Jaysing Desai Shelar sought police custody for the accused on the grounds that Dr Khandelwal, Dr Ahuja and Dr Mehare were in the hostel when Dr Tadvi committed suicide and the police needed to investigate if there was a suicide note that may have been misplaced by the accused.

The Tadvi family’s lawyer Nitin Sapute submitted that injury marks on Dr Tadvi’s dead body raised suspicion of foul play. However, Dr Mehare’s legal counsel Sandeep Bali pointed out that Dr Tadvi’s room had been locked from the inside. He also submitted that Dr Mehare belongs to a scheduled caste and therefore, the allegation that she had made casteist taunts was baseless. Appearing for the other two accused, lawyer Abad Ponda said Dr Khandelwal and Dr Ahuja were unaware of Dr Tadvi’s caste.

In their remand application, the police said they have recorded statements by Dr Tadvi’s parents, her husband Salman and one colleague who have said the three accused used to harass her and taunt Dr Tadvi.

First Published: May 30, 2019 01:17 IST