The Mumbai Police have opposed the bail plea of three doctors accused of abetting the suicide of medical student Payal Tadvi, PTI reported on Tuesday.
Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehere and Ankita Khandelwal of BYL Nair Hospital were arrested on May 29, seven days after Tadvi committed suicide after allegedly facing casteist abuse from them at the Topiwala National Medical College in Mumbai, where she worked.
The police, in a nine-page reply to a special court on Monday, said the three accused were the first to reach Tadvi’s room on May 22. “They were the first to reach Payal’s room after the incident and were present there for a long time and when she was taken to the hospital,” The Indian Express quoted from the police’s reply to the bail plea. “The accused also returned to the room [after Tadvi was taken to the hospital] and were inside for over five minutes. This shows the behaviour of the accused who are doctors is that of someone with a cold, criminal bent.”
The police claimed that the accused did not cooperate with investigators and were “taught to give only particular answers to questions put up by the police”.
The prosecution alleged that Ahuja and Khandelwal returned to Tadvi’s room to “steal the suicide note” and “destroy evidence” from Tadvi’s phone, The Times of India reported. “Their demeanour shows they committed the crime with extreme cruelty and a cool mind,” the police alleged.
The police said Tadvi’s last phone conversation was with Ahuja. “Ahuja is not divulging correct information about the call,” investigators said. “She claims she spoke to Tadvi about work.”
The police said that on the day of her suicide Tadvi was harassed about a photograph shared on WhatsApp by one of her friends. “The victim belonged to a...Scheduled Tribe community, whereas the accused are a... part of privileged society,” the police added. “This disparity may have an adverse effect on the witnesses and investigation.”
Special public prosecutor Raja Thakare sought the adjournment of bail hearing since efforts were being made to record the court proceedings following a petition by Tadvi’s mother, who had lodged the complaint against the three doctors. Defence counsel Aabad Ponda said not all proceedings were mandatory to be video-recorded, and urged the court to release her clients on interim bail.
The case will be heard again on Wednesday, PTI reported.