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No court relief for 3 doctors accused of abetting junior in suicide case | India News

MUMBAI: In a detailed order rejecting the discharge pleas of three doctors accused of abetting the 2019 suicide of their junior, Dr Payal Tadvi, by harassing her over her caste, a special court observed that had they filed the pleas only to prolong trial.
The court said there is prima-facie sufficient material on their participation and specific role in regard to accusations against them, and they certainly do not deserve to be discharged from the crime levelled against them.
The judge also said the probable defence of accused that Tadvi was under mental stress and unable to cope with her educational work and duties could not be considered at this stage.
“The investigation machinery has recorded statements of more than 274 material witnesses and seized huge record of material, electronic evidence…it is my humble view…a medical student junior to accused has committed suicide. Therefore, certainly, necessary required opportunity is to be given to prosecution and complainant to prove their grievance,” said special judge SM Tapkire.
The court also directed accused – doctors Ankita Khandelwal, Hema Ahuja and Bhakti Mehare – to each pay costs of Rs 25,000 (total Rs 75,000). The money will be disbursed to Tadvi’s mother Abeda Tadvi. The judge noted that while the accused had moved the discharge pleas in 2022, they prolonged the matter by taking repeated adjournments.
“It is also required to be considered that the accused are medical officers or practitioners. Thereby, certainly they must have good financial condition. Therefore, the considerable cost amount required to be saddled as the practice of raising discharge applications in spite of having knowledge that sufficient considerable material is available against the accused…such type of practice requires to be deprecated,” the judge said.
Special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat had opposed their pleas. Gharat submitted that during Payal’s medical education, the accused frequently and constantly harassed, abused and threatened her. Gharat also said that they intentionally insulted, humiliated and intimidated her in the presence of patients, hospital staffers and colleagues.
“In that regard, the statements of heap of the eye- witnesses have been recorded….Furthermore, prior to suicide, the complainant has raised the complaint against the accused with the college official,” Gharat submitted. He also accused the trio of destroying the suicide note.
The three accused doctors were senior to Payal in the same college. Payal, 26, had hanged herself in her hostel room on May 22, 2019. The accused have been charged with ragging, torturing and harassing Payal because of her caste. They were arrested a few days after the suicide and granted bail by Bombay high court on Aug 9, 2019. Seeking dismissal of discharge pleas by accused, Abeda had submitted that it was an attempt by the accused to delay commencement of trial.

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