The special court on Saturday allowed the Mumbai Police Crime Branch to interrogate the three doctors booked for abetment of suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi for five days in jail.
Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal, who were senior to Payal in the postgraduate course in TN Topiwala National Medical College, have been in custody for allegedly ragging Payal and driving her to commit suicide in her room on May 22.
Special court judge P B Jadhav, in the order, said, “The IO (investigating officer) wants to interrogate the accused in the jail itself. Therefore, it would be proper to grant permission, which would be helpful for further investigation.” The court allowed the officer to interrogate all three accused in jail between 11 am and 5 pm from July 8 to 12. The court further extended the judicial custody of the doctors to July 20.
Special public prosecutor Raja Thakare on Saturday moved an application seeking custody of the three doctors for investigation after the picture of a purported suicide note was found on Tadvi’s cellphone. The purported photograph was found on Tadvi’s cellphone during forensic examination. The police had retrieved the cellphone from her room at the college hostel in a damaged condition after her suicide.
According to the police, the three doctors were the first to enter Tadvi’s room after her body was taken away and are likely to have destroyed the original note and may have also tried to damage the phone.
The application further states that the Crime Branch wants to investigate as to what happened from the time Tadvi went to her room and was then taken to trauma room after she committed suicide and thereafter. The police claim that the arrested doctors got rid of the original suicide note as there is CCTV footage which shows they had spent five minutes in Tadvi’s room after she allegedly took her own life.
The Crime Branch also told the court that they need the password of Twitter and Facebook accounts of Ahuja, an account currently being handled by Ahuja’s brother. It further said they also need the password of Mehare’s phone for probe.
The lawyer representing the three accused objected to the application for interrogation and said that the police have stated in their application that they have found the note in her phone but the phone is still locked. “If the phone is locked, how did they find any suicide note,” the lawyer said