Tadvi suicide: Cops file charge sheet against 3 women doctors

Mumbai, July 23

Two months after Payal Tadvi, a junior doctor at a hospital here ended her life following caste-based harassment, the Crime Branch on Tuesday filed a charge sheet against three of her seniors accused of abetting her suicide.

The over 1,800-page charge sheet, filed before a special court here, contains a copy of the three-page suicide note allegedly written by Tadvi before hanging herself in hostel room.

The three accused doctors — Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Meher and Ankita Khandelwal — were arrested on May 29. They are lodged in jail under judicial custody since then.

Tadvi, 26, a second-year postgraduate medical student attached to civic-run B Y L Nair Hospital, allegedly committed suicide on May 22.

Her family has alleged that the three senior doctors ragged and hurled casteist abuses at Tadvi — who belonged to a tribal community — forcing her to kill herself.

The trio has denied charges of caste-based harassment and claimed Tadvi had merely been pulled up for not doing her duties properly.

The accused were booked under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities).

Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch, which probed the case that attracted a lot of public attention, has relied, among other evidence, on the three-page suicide note allegedly written by Tadvi.

While the hard copy of the note has not been found yet, the Crime Branch claimed it retrieved photos of the suicide note from Tadvi’s mobile phone.

According to the prosecution, the note clearly mentioned names of the three accused and the alleged harassment meted by them to the victim.

The purported suicide note described two major instances because of which Tadvi decided to kill herself.

The first incident took place on May 21, when the victim was pulled up for putting photos on social media along with her friends.

The accused supposedly told the victim that she had time to take photos but not for doing her job.

The second incident occurred in the hospital’s operation theatre on May 22, the day Tadvi allegedly committed suicide.

Tadvi wrote in the note that she was insulted and shouted at by the three accused in front of other staff members for not doing her job properly.

The charge sheet contains statements of over 150 witnesses, including the hospital staff, other doctors and a few patients who were witness to the three accused shouting at Tadvi.

The witnesses also include the victim’s friends, who said the three accused had made remarks about Tadvi getting medical admission due to her caste.

After the special court, which handles SC/ST cases, rejected their bail petitions, the three doctors approached the Bombay High Court with their bail pleas, which will be heard on Thursday. — PTI

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