Tadvi Suicide: Further Custody of Accused Refused to Crime Branch

The crime branch had earlier this week approached the HC seeking custody of the three doctors.

Published06 Jun 2019, 12:49 PM IST
3 min read

The Bombay High Court on Thursday, 6 June, refused to grant crime branch the custody of three women doctors arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of their junior colleague Payal Tadvi, but allowed it to interrogate them for four days.

The court allowed the crime branch to take the three accused doctors - Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Meher and Ankita Khandelwa - from the Byculla jail, where they are lodged, for questioning during the daytime.

“The arrested accused shall be taken from jail, where they are lodged today (Thursday) from 2 pm to 6 pm, and from 9 am to 6 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for interrogation,” the single bench of Justice SS Shinde said.

The crime branch had earlier this week approached the HC seeking custody of the three doctors.

The three accused were arrested last week and a special court had on Friday last remanded them to judicial custody after rejecting the police plea for further custody.

Crime branch counsel Raja Thakare told the court on Thursday that it was handed over the probe in the case the day the lower court sent the three accused to judicial custody and hence it did not get an opportunity to interrogate them.

NCST to Meet Maharashtra Govt Officials, BYL Nair Hospital Authorities on 8 June

A five-member team of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) will meet top government officials and the management of the BYL Nair Hospital on Saturday, 8 June.

The team, led by NCST Chairman Nand Kumar Sai, will hold meetings with top administration and police officials, including the Maharashtra chief secretary, secretary (Health) and the Mumbai police commissioner, PTI reported.

The commission will also meet the managing director, TN Topiwala National Medical College, and the management of the BYL Nair Hospital in connection with the case.

The commission had earlier issued notices to the Maharashtra chief secretary, health secretary, Mumbai police commissioner and BYL Nair Hospital authorities, seeking a response from them in 10 days.

What Happened

On 22 May, 27-year-old Tadvi, a second-year postgraduate student of the Gynaecology and Obstetrics department, was found hanging in her room that she shared with three other students.

The three accused doctors were arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of their junior colleague by passing casteist slurs at her at a state-run hospital in Mumbai.

Tadvi was also defamed by the accused on WhatsApp groups of students, a police official said.

The membership of the three doctors was cancelled by the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors and they were later booked under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Anti-Ragging Act, IT Act and section 306 (abatement to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

Tadvi's mother had also alleged that her seniors used to constantly harass her with casteist slurs.

The accused doctors, on Monday, 27 May, wrote to the Association stating, "We want the college to conduct fair investigation. But this isn't the way to do investigation through police force and media pressure without listening to our side.”

Case So Far

The anti-ragging committee of the Topiwala National Medical College in Mumbai concluded that Tadvi faced harassment from the three accused seniors, a source said on Tuesday, 3 June.

“We questioned several people, her friends and fellow students, and corroborated their statements. It was evident that Payal was harassed over her caste and tribe,” a member of the anti-ragging committee said, speaking to PTI on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the defendant denied that a suicide note accusing the three doctors of harassment ever existed in the case.

The defense asked, "Does anybody say that we destroyed a suicide note? Where did the suicide note come from? There was no suicide note."

Arguing that if there was a suicide note which was destroyed, he said "there would be camera recording it."

Mother of one of the co-accused told ANI, “The allegations on them (accused doctors) are false. They can't do anything like that. They are innocent, they will definitely get justice. An inquiry should be done so that the truth is revealed.”

Three senior doctors have been sent to judicial custody till 10 June on Friday, 31 May.

(With inputs from PTI)

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