A Mumbai court on Friday sent three women doctors arrested for abetting the suicide of medico Payal Tadvi to judicial custody till June 10.The three – Bhakti Meher, Hema Ahuja and Ankita Khandelwal – were produced before the court at end of their three-day police remand, said lawyer Nitin Satpute. The development comes a day after the Mumbai Police handed over the investigation to the Crime Branch as the family raised apprehensions that Payal Tadvi may have been murdered in view of injury marks on her body, as revealed in the preliminary autopsy report.
Additional Sessions Judge R. M. Sadarani rejected a plea by the Crime Branch to extend the police custody of the accused trio for further investigations.Judge Sadarani said that at the first remand plea on Wednesday, the police came up with the case that it could be a murder, but nothing was revealed from the case diary and autopsy report that it could be a clear-cut case of murder.Moreover, the investigations carried out in the past two days did not throw up any substantial evidence to grant additional police custody to the accused, the judge said.
Judge Sadarani further noted that no suicide note had been recovered in the case and the grounds for extending police custody – that the police wanted to confront the accused with other witnesses – was not sufficient.Accordingly, he rejected the plea for extension of police custody of the three accused and sent them to judicial custody till June 10.A second year post-graduate student of Gynaecology, Tadvi, 26, was found hanging in her hostel room on May 22 at the government-run BYL Nair Hospital.Following the incident, the three doctors were charged with various sections of the Atrocities Act, Anti-Ragging Act, IT Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A day later, on May 27, the three doctors were suspended by the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), and on the following day their medical licences were suspended by the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which runs the hospital.The BMC also suspended the medical licences of the hospital’s Head of Department Yi Ching Ling in the same case.The Tadvi family has levelled serious allegations against the four senior doctors pertaining to discrimination, professional harassment, torturing Payal with casteist remarks on her tribal Muslim background and demanded “strictest action” against them.After their arrests, the Mumbai Police seized the mobile phones of the accused trio to recover their WhatsApp chat messages and other details.
The Indian Medical Association (Maharashtra State) has expressed its heartfelt condolences on the unnatural death of Payal Tadvi, according to IMA President Hozie Kapadia and Secretary Suhas Pingle.”IMA condemns this incident and strongly demands a detailed inquiry of the facts and give justice to the late Dr. Payal Tadvi,” they said, adding her death was an “irrecoverable loss for the society.”The National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission took cognizance and sought reports on Tadvi’s suicide from the BMC as well as the BYL Nair Hospital.