found Radheshyam’s story implausible. There was nothing on the ceiling
to hang oneself from, they say. They approached the police. A dowry death
case was registered and Radheshyam was arrested. Soon after, to everyone’s
surprise, the rest of Radheshyam’s family, who were absconding, surrendered
at the Achnera police station. They were arrested, and released on bail
after a week. The case came up in the district and session judge’s
court no 4 of RK Gautam. It dragged on for three years.
Enter Dr SK Gupta.
At a hearing in court,
the senior psychiatrist of the government’s Agra Mental Hospital testified
for Yaduveer’s family. Gupta brandished a certificate that declared
Meera was mentally ill. He submitted the piece of paper as evidence and
listed names of medicines he had prescribed for her. Shocked, Meera’s
family pleaded with the court that Gupta’s certificate be re-examined.
Roshan says the judge turned down their appeal. He says the judge merely
questioned Gupta on the validity of the certificate. He says that it was
on the basis of that certificate that the accused were declared not guilty
of murder, only of demanding dowry. He says that medical certificate was
the “clinching evidence” that made the court rule that Meera
had committed suicide. He says that when she was murdered, Meera was four
months pregnant. And he says that beating Meera was a family affair for
Yaduveer. Everybody used to join in.
Gupta lost out on a flourishing business because his brother bribed
Dr Gupta and got a certificate declaring him mentally unstable.
Finally, a judge ruled that only his wife could have filed a complaint
but by then his name was struck off the board of directors
Roshan, the distraught brother, approached the Agra Mental Hospital director,
Dr Sudhir Kumar, against Gupta’s certificate. Kumar ordered a re-examination
of the certificate and found it false. OP Gangil, the enquiry officer who
is also a senior psychiatrist at the asylum, told Tehelka that his probe
revealed that Gupta’s certificate was false. Roshan has appealed to
the Allahabad high Court against the district court order. The appeal is
pending. Roshan also questions the motives of judge RK Gautam. When contacted,
Gautam told Tehelka that he was not allowed to speak to the media. Yaduveer
decided offence was the best defence. “People from Tehelka are thieves
themselves. They approach people with money and frame them on false charges,”
he declared. Meanwhile, after Tehelka’s investigations created a furore
in the state, Roshan says he will file a fresh fir against Gupta. He says
the doctor took a bribe of Rs 40,000 to issue the false medical certificate.
The story of Deepti, from Allahabad, is similar, and yet
different. Similar because hers too was a case of marriage-turned-hell
for dowry. Different because against her, not one doctor, the system colluded.
Her husband Sanjay, an Agra businessman, was ever in need of more dowry.
He just had to beat Deepti up to make her family oblige. But Sanjay’s
greed was not satisfied. Deepti’s counsel, Arvind Gupta, says Sanjay
took his wife to a private psychiatrist and instructed the doctor to subject
her to electric shocks.
Sanjay then admitted Deepti to the Agra Mental Hospital on December 13,
2001. Her family rushed to the hospital the following day. They approached
Arvind, who instructed them to file a Habeas Corpus petition at the Allahabad
On December 24, the high court ordered the district judge of Agra to depute
a judicial officer to visit the hospital and speak to Deepti as well as
to the doctor incharge of the patient. The very next day, RC Mishra, the
then Agra chief judicial magistrate, met Deepti in the presence of Dr
JR Kalra and director Sudhir Kumar. Mishra found nothing wrong with Deepti.
According to Arvind Gupta, Mishra asked Kalra and Kumar for their opinion
on Deepti’s mental status. He was told that an opinion could only
be given after five days. Though they were unsure of her mental instability,
they had — for nine days —been giving Deepti the shock treatment,
July 17, 2004
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