Pune Police have booked a doctor on charges of negligence after a video, purportedly showing a man performing “superstitious rituals” on one of his patients inside a hospital room, surfaced on Tuesday. The woman, identified as Sandhya Sonawane, had died while undergoing treatment at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Erandwane on Sunday. Late on Tuesday, police registered an offence under the anti-superstition law against the man who had performed the rituals, as well as the doctor who had been treating her for the last three months. Police said Sonawane, a resident of Dattawadi, underwent a surgery at the hospital of Dr Satish Chavan in Swargate area around three months ago. The procedure was performed to treat an abscess in her chest. After the surgery, the woman developed complications due to infection, said police official.
After a few days of treatment at Chavan’s hospital, Sonawane was referred to another doctor, who performed one more procedure on her at the same hospital for recurrent complications. In the last week of February, she was shifted to the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital for further specialised treatment. However, Sonawane died while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
In the video, shot at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in the days before Sonawane’s death, Dr Chavan is seen standing next her, while a man performs some rituals involving flowers and haldi, kumkum. Senior Inspector Rekha Salunkhe, in-charge of the Alankar police station, said, “Based on the video and the statement of the patient’s brother, we have booked the man and the doctor. They have been booked under the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. At the same time, Dr Chavan has been booked for alleged negligence during the treatment. The negligence aspect will be ascertained after the case is presented before a medical board at the Sassoon General Hospital. The board is expected to point out whose negligence led to the death, if that is the case. As of now, Dr Chavan has been named… more names may be added as more facts surface.”
Sonawane’s brother told police that while she was admitted at Chavan’s hospital, where two surgeries were performed on her, he had asked her family members to chant some mantra to “avert the ill-effects of a spell”. Later, he had allegedly inquired about the date and time of her birth, as well as zodiac sign. Police said more facts about the “superstitious activities” were expected to surface during the investigation.
Authorities of Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital said they didn’t allow patients to undertake such rituals on the premises. “The ICU has restricted entry and certainly no doctors from our hospital allowed this. The woman, who had been admitted for recurrent abscesses with immunological problems, died of sepsis and multi-organ failure,” they said.