A special court on Monday dismissed the bail plea of three doctors arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of their junior colleague Payal Tadvi last month, PTI reported.

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. Justice PB Jadhav on Monday rejected the bail applications of the three accused, who have been lodged in jail since their arrest on May 29.

Tadvi’s husband Dr Salman Tadvi and her family had written to the police on June 21, opposing the bail plea of the accused and claiming that their lives may be under threat, The Times of India reported. The letter was submitted to the special court. Gunratan Sadavarte, the lawyer representing Tadvi’s kin, alleged that the accused had threatened Dr Salman Tadvi when they were brought to court for a custody hearing last week.

Defence advocate Abad Ponda asked the court to grant bail to the three doctors as they were “doctors who save lives, they don’t take lives”. “Even in murder cases, courts give bail to women,” he said.

“They never wanted to kill or expected she would die or kill herself. They were only pulling her up for work,” the defence lawyer added. Ponda denied that the three doctors knew Tadvi’s caste.

But Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare argued that after Mehere’s arrest, the other accused should have surrendered instead of forcing the police to track them down. “They [accused] are bothered about who will marry them,” he said. “But what will be the fate of the mother and the young husband?”

Last week, the Mumbai Police had opposed the accused’s bail plea. 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. The added that the accused came back to her room after she was taken to the hospital. “This shows the behaviour of the accused who are doctors is that of someone with a cold, criminal bent,” the police had said.