The Mumbai Police Crime Branch is likely to file a chargesheet on Tuesday against the three doctors booked in the Dr Payal Tadvi suicide case for alleged caste-based discrimination and abetment of suicide.
On May 22, Payal was found hanging from a ceiling fan of her hostel room at the BYL Nair General Hospital. After initially registering an accidental death record, the Agripada police lodged an FIR the next day against the three accused based on a complaint by Payal’s mother Abeda, a Jalgaon resident. Abeda had told the police that her daughter was harassed and humiliated by the three accused constantly. The three accused were subsequently arrested on May 28-29.
Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal are named in the crime branch’s chargesheet, with police claiming that they allegedly committed offences under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act and abetment of suicide, destruction of evidence and common intent under the Indian Penal Code. To prove the charges, the police has attached statements of nearly 150 witnesses, in addition to the suicide note retrieved from Payal’s mobile phone.
The police, in its chargesheet, is learnt to have included the statements of Payal’s colleagues, other staff members and seniors in the hospital. One of the crucial statements is that of Payal’s friend, Snehal, who told police Payal was harassed by the accused based on her admission as a student from a Scheduled Tribe, the Bhil Tadvi community.
The evidence also includes witnesses on the day of the suicide, who were present when Payal was allegedly shouted at in the presence of other staff members and patients. The police will also annex copies of the three-page suicide note found on Payal’s phone, in which she had taken photographs at 5.04 pm, a few minutes after she received a call from Ahuja at 4.51 pm. The call, which lasted 121 seconds, was the last one received by Payal before she committed suicide.
CCTV footage of the eighth floor corridor outside Payal’s room, where the three accused are reportedly seen entering Payal’s room after she was shifted to the trauma room, will also be part of the evidence. After their arrest, the three accused submitted a bail application, which a trial court rejected on June 24. They have appealed against the trial court order, which the Bombay High Court will hear on Tuesday.
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