The Mumbai police told a court on Friday that there was no evidence to indicate that Payal Tadvi, junior doctor at a government hospital in the city, was murdered. Tadvi, 26, allegedly hanged herself in her hostel room last week after being harassed by her seniors. It was also alleged that the accused made casteist remarks at her. The court, which refused to extend police remand of the three accused, noted that the case diary and the autopsy report did not suggest that it was a ‘clear-cut’ case of murder.
The prosecution, seeking police remand for the accused when they were arrested, had suggested that it could be a case of murder.
However, the crime branch, which took over the case on Thursday, told the court that it has not "come across any material to call it a murder". The accused -- Bhakti Mehere, Hema Ahuja and Ankita Khandelwal -- were produced before Additional Sessions Judge R M Sadrani at the end of their police custody on Friday.
Seeking their further custody, the investigating officer said it was required for the recovery of the suicide note.
Police also wanted to confront them with the witnesses, he said, adding that the accused were not co-operating with the investigation.
"We (crime branch) did not get time to probe... Hence, we should be given seven days'' custody," said special public prosecutor Raja Thakre.
However, defense lawyer Abad Ponda said none of the witnesses had stated that a suicide note existed and the custody can not be extended just because another investigating agency has taken over, he argued.
The judge noted in his order that "nothing was revealed from the case diary and the post-mortem report that it was a clear-cut murder".
No substantial evidence was collected in the last two days, nor was the suicide note recovered, for which purpose custody had been sought earlier, the judge said.
The grounds on which the prosecution sought further police remand were not "sufficient", the court said, sending the three accused in judicial custody till June 10.
Payal Tadvi's family alleged that the accused, who were her seniors, tormented her and made casteist remarks at her, since she belonged to a scheduled tribe.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Friday set up a "fact-finding mission committee" to "evaluate the background situation and the critical factors that led to the unfortunate suicide of Tadvi", it said in a statement. Its fact-finding team will submit a report to the IMA National president within a week, it said, adding that "IMA does not condone any discriminatory behavior".