A special court here Saturday allowed police to interrogate inside jail three women doctors arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of a junior colleague by tormenting her with casteist slurs at a civic-run hospital.
Doctors Hema Ahuja, Ankita Khandelwal and Bhakti Meher are currently in judicial custody and imprisoned in Byculla Jail.
The Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch, probing the case, filed an application before the court through special public prosecutor Raja Thakare seeking permission to interrogate the accused.
Police said the interrogation was necessary in the wake of recovery of pictures from junior doctor Payal Tadvi’s phone of the purported suicide note.
Pictures of the suicide note and photos of the three accused doctors were found in the victim’s mobile phone during forensic examination of the device.
They need to probe the sequence of events from the time Tadvi’s body was taken from her room to the trauma centre, it said.
The three accused were the first persons to open the doctor’s room following the suicide.
Police had earlier said the accused had gone back to Tadvi’s room within five to seven minutes after the body was taken to the trauma centre.
It is suspected the suicide note was destroyed by the accused during this period.
There is also need to interrogate the accused for recovery of passwords of their phones and social media accounts, police told court.
Defence lawyer Shailesh Kharat said they have no objection if the accused are questioned inside the jail.
Judge P B Jadhav permitted the investigating officer to interrogate the three accused in jail between 11 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday.
Meanwhile, the judicial custody of the trio was Saturday extended by another 14 days.
Tadvi (26), a second year post-graduate medical student attached to B Y L Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central, had hanged herself in her hostel room on May 22.
Tadvi’s family had accused Ahuja, Meher and Khandelwal of ragging and hurling casteist abuses at her, charges denied by the trio.
The accused had been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.