New Delhi: A postgraduate student enrolled in the department of radiology in north Delhi’s St Stephen’s Hospital was killed, allegedly by his colleague, in the early hours of Friday, police said. The victim, Shashwat Pandey (26), was found dead with his throat slit. A hospital attendant saw the body and the police were called in around 9 am.
Autopsy showed the victim had been stabbed over 20 times, including on his private parts, neck, chest, thigh, back and face, sources said. Police have identified the main suspect as a fellow batchmate from the same department as the victim. Doctors at the hospital claimed the accused had been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness. Due to his erratic behaviour, he was asked to go on leave earlier this year and was barred from entering the campus, they said.
According to doctors, Shashwat’s family alleged that a case had been filed against the accused but no action was taken. However, police claimed both parties had reached a compromise and the complaint was withdrawn. “He had been diagnosed with a mental illness by doctors at RML in May last year and was undergoing treatment. He was recently asked to go on leave after his behavior grew erratic,” said a senior police officer, quoting hospital authorities.
When police looked into the CCTV footage, they found that the accused, wearing his ID card, entered around 12.30 am and headed to the radiology department’s reporting room. Police said the murder took place in the span of an hour. They have not yet been able to ascertain the murder weapon and how it was smuggled into the hospital. “After slitting Pandey’s throat, the accused locked the main door of the reporting room with a lock to make sure he could not leave,” the officer said.
Police have traced the car used by the accused to exit the main hospital gate. The car was found abandoned near Anand Vihar bus stand, and police suspect he fled the capital in a bus. DCP (north) Jatin Narwal said a case of murder has been lodged at Sabzi Mandi police station.
Following Pandey’s death, his mother, Dr Shalini Pandey, who was in Delhi for a visit, developed chest pain and was admitted briefly at the hospital. “His mother was going to visit him. He was called for a night shift and was supposed to take an off the next day. He was killed inside the hospital due to authorities’ negligence,” said Dr Shubra Phillips, the victim’s aunt.
Even though police have not been able to ascertain the motive, investigators suggested the accused was “possessive about the deceased” and had “several altercations with him over the past two years”. “The two had a fight about two years ago, when they went to attend a medical seminar. They had several tiffs since then,” said an officer.
As news of Pandey’s death spread, more than 50 postgraduate resident doctors went on strike. Medical Superintendent Ras Bage tried to convince doctors to call off the strike. “I do not want another death in the hospital. You do not want to work, that is okay. The OPD department is closed, but we cannot afford to close the casualty department,” he told protesters.