The Crime Branch, while opposing the bail applications of the three accused doctors in the Payal Tadvi case, has said the last call Tadvi had received before committing suicide was from Hema Ahuja, one of the accused. After the call, Tadvi took a photograph of the suicide note with her mobile phone. Soon after, she committed suicide.
In its 16-page reply before Bombay High Court, the Crime Branch states that the last call received by Payal before committing suicide was from Ahuja at 4.51 pm and they spoke for 121 seconds. The FSL, Kalina, has revealed that the photograph of the suicide note was clicked on the day of the suicide at 5.04 pm.
In the three-page handwritten suicide note extracted from Tadvi’s mobile phone, she narrates the “ordeal and mental torture” faced by her in the past one year at the hands of the three doctors. The Crime Branch has stated that she has held the three doctors — Ahuja, Bhakti Mehre and Ankita Khandelwal —responsible for her condition in the suicide note. The chargesheet is likely to be filed this week and their bail applications will be heard on Tuesday before the Bombay High Court.
According to the police, none of the accused co-operated with the investigation and “expressed ignorance” of any suicide note by Payal, in spite of them being the only ones to visit Payal’s room after she was shifted to the trauma room after committing suicide.
The police have also mentioned an incident between 12.30 pm and 1 pm on the day Payal committed suicide where Ahuja allegedly shouted at and insulted Payal in the recovery room of the operation theatre in the presence of staff. After some time, witnesses noticed Payal weeping alone. Thereafter, at 3.39 pm, Payal called her mother and wept, telling her about the harassment by the three doctors after they complained to the head of department, gynaecology, of Nair Hospital Dr Ching Ling, the Crime Branch reply states.
The police said it found during investigation that on April 25, 2019, a patient was referred from another hospital to Nair Hospital as an emergency case. Payal performed the delivery of this patient and Khandelwal did the stitches post-operation. The patient was later detected to be HIV+. In such cases, doctors have to undergo post-exposure prophylaxis course of 28 days. Mehre denied Payal the required leave for this course, so Payal could undergo the course for only seven days, which was detrimental to her health.
The police, in their reply, have said that it was established from the statements of witnesses that the three accused doctors had knowledge of the victim belonging to the backward class and, hence, had been subjecting her to “insult, humiliation and torture” to such an extent that Payal was left with no other alternative but to end her life. The reply stated, “The applicant accused had even gone to the extent of isolating her from allocating important jobs and assigning her with insignificant ventures.”
Tadvi joined Nair Hospital on May 9, 2018 for postgraduation training. She was from the Scheduled Tribes community. She was appointed as Junior Resident in the gynaecology department. Tadvi hailed from Loni village in Jalgaon district.