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Three woman doctors charged in medico suicide case

Mumbai

23-July-2019

Two months after the alleged suicide of government hospital doctor Payal Tadvi, the Mumbai Police on Tuesday filed a voluminous charge sheet in the case, naming three senior doctors for alleged harassment, casteist discrimination and abetment to suicide.

"The charge-sheet has been submitted to the Special Court today (Tuesday). Now, the matter will come up for hearing before Justice D. S. Naidu at the Bombay High Court on Thursday," lawyer for Tadvi's family, Gunratna Sadavarte, told IANS.

The charge sheet, running into three volumes with over 1,600 pages, has named the three prime accused medicos - Ankita Khandelwal, Bhakti Mehare and Hema Ahuja - the seniors of Tadvi, who are in continuous custody since then.

Earlier this month, the case took a significant turn after a purported suicide note was recovered from Tadvi's mobile phone following a forensic investigation.

Though the whereabouts of its original hard copy are not known, an image of the suicide note found on the mobile phone is included with the charge sheet.

Late in the evening of May 22, Tadvi, 26, was found hanging in her hostel room at the B.Y.L. Nair General Hospital in south Mumbai, sparking off a huge controversy.

While her family alleged that the three senior medicos were responsible for her death by harassing her on grounds of her minority tribal background, the accused have consistently denied the charges, claiming they had merely pulled her up for inefficiency in work.

Though the Agripada police initially registered an accidental death, following a complaint by the deceased's mother, Abeda Tadvi, an FIR was lodged and investigations launched.

The three accused women medicos - Ahuja, Mehare and Khandelwal - were absconding since the FIR was registered, but were arrested from different parts of the city on May 28-29.

According to the prosecution, the purported suicide note has clearly mentioned the names of the accused trio and at least two instances which drove Tadvi to the extreme step of ending her life.

Additionally, the charge sheet includes the statements of more than 150 witnesses including Tadvi's friends, colleagues, some medicos, hospital staffers and patients who had witnessed the three seniors doctors yelling at her.

The accused have been charged under Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to abetment of suicide and destruction of evidence, provisions of the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) and Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act. IANS