The two absconding doctors accused of abetting the suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi, a 26-year-old BYL Nair Hospital postgraduate medical student, were arrested by Agripada police. Dr. Ankita Khandelwal was arrested on Wednesday morning with Dr. Hema Ahuja.Later. Together with Dr Bhakti Mehare, the third accused who was arrested on Tuesday, they were brought before a special court for cases registered under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes Act. The three were remanded until Friday in police custody.
Dr. Khandelwal, Dr. Ahuja and Dr. Mehare were charged pursuant to section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sections of the Scheduled Caste and Tribes Atrocities Act, the Anti-Ragging Act and the Information Technology Act, 2000.The three accused, who are third-year students at BYL Nair Hospital, subjected Dr. Tadvi to caste slurs and led her to suicide, according to Dr. Tadvi’s family. Dr. Tadvi was a student in the same hospital for the second year and committed suicide on May 22. No note of suicide was found.
The investigating officer told the court on Wednesday that messages recovered from a Whatsapp working group indicate that the accused insulted Dr. Tadvi. Public prosecutors Veena Shelar and Jaysing Desai Shelar sought police custody of the accused on the grounds that Dr. Khandelwal, Dr. Ahuja and Dr. Mehare were in the hostel when Dr. Tadvi committed suicide and that the police needed to investigate whether there was a suicide note that the accused might have misplaced.
Lawyer Nitin Sapute of the Tadvi family submitted that injury marks raised suspicion of foul play on Dr Tadvi’s dead body. However, legal counsel for Dr. Mehare, Sandeep Bali, pointed out that the room for Dr. Tadvi had been locked from the inside.He also argued that Dr Mehare belongs to a scheduled caste, so the allegation that she had made caste taunts was baseless. Dr. Khandelwal and Dr. Ahuja were unaware of Dr. Tadvi’s caste when they appeared for the other two accused, lawyer Abad Ponda said.
The police said they had recorded statements from Dr. Tadvi’s parents, her husband Salman, and a colleague who said the three accused used to harass her and taunt Dr. Tadvi in their application for remand.