Nair Hospital suicide case: State-appointed panel to conduct second round of probe
Medical education minister Girish Mahajan has tasked a four-member committee to conduct a second round of investigations into postgraduate medical student Dr Payal Tadvi’s suicide. This was announced on Thursday. The committee has also been tasked with reviewing the anti-ragging rules and norms in all medical colleges.
On May 22, Dr Tadvi, a 26-year-old postgraduate student and resident doctor at BYL Nair Hospital, committed suicide. Her family has alleged Dr Tadvi was subjected to caste-based discrimination and harassment by three seniors, Dr Ankita Khandelwal, Dr Hema Ahuja and Dr Bhakti Mehare. A 21-member anti-ragging committee, appointed by TN Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Hospital, found prima facie evidence that Dr Tadvi faced “extreme harassment” from the accused. Their report, submitted to the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) on May 28, is currently being reviewed by a five-member committee, appointed by MUHS. It will be submitted to the sessions court on June 3. There is also a police investigation underway and the three accused are under arrest.
On Tuesday, Dr Kalidas Chavan, registrar, MUHS, had said “appropriate action” against the accused would be decided by a MUHS-appointed committee within two days. However, on Thursday, it was announced that a separate investigation would be carried out by the four-member committee.
Sources at BYL Nair Hospital said the second round of investigations was as per procedure. “As per anti-ragging norms, once the hospital where the incident has taken place completes its investigations through the anti-ragging committee, the state investigates the charges of ragging at their level. The teaching staff, Dr Tadvi’s colleagues, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) members and non-teaching staff have started giving their statements regarding the incident from May 30,” said a senior doctor.
Meanwhile, the quantum of punishment against the accused will be decided by the five-member committee appointed by the MUHS after they finish reviewing the anti-ragging committee’s report. This report had found that the accused’s casteist jibes on social media forums may have pushed Dr Tadvi towards mental breakdown, which led to her committing suicide. Dr Dilip Mhaiskar, vice chancellor, MUHS, said, “The major issue is that the three doctors, alleged with charges of ragging, are in custody and we need to record their statements for completion of the report.” As this case involves the death of a resident doctor and charges of caste atrocity, the committee will decide action based on what charges are proved to be true, Mhaiskar said.
Dr S D Shirodkar, who headed up the gynaecology department where Dr Tadvi was a student, has been transferred and a suspension notice has been served to the head of Dr Tadvi’s unit, Dr Yi Ching Ling