Anant Chintaman Lagu V. The State Of Bombay (8)


The appellant had fixed up an engagement with Dr. Sathe of Bombay, who has been named earlier, for November 13, 1956, at 3 p.m. for examining Laxmibai. On November 8, 1956, Bhave, a relation of Laxmibai, called on Laxmibai and found the appellant there. Laxmibai told him that she proposed to go to Bombay with the appellant for consulting Dr. Sathe for her health and that she would be returning in four or five days. On November 10 or 11, she saw a lawyer Karandikar, also a relation, and informed him that she intended to go to Bombay with the appellant for consulting a physician. About the same time Champutai, daughter of Bhave mentioned earlier, came to Laxmibai's house to invite her to attend the birthday party of her son which had been fixed for November 13. Laxmibai told Champutai that she was going to Bombay and if she was able to come back in time, she would attend the party. At about 8 p.m. on November 12, Laxmibai went to Virkar, who was a tenant of the house where she lived, and informed him that she was going to Bombay by the night train to consult a doctor and requested him to pay Rs.

50 on account of the rent then due for meeting the expenses of the 524 journey to Bombay. The amount was paid by Virkar to her.

She told Virkar that she expected to return to Poona after three or four days. About the same time she met Pramilabai, another tenant of the house, and told her that she was going to Bombay with the appellant by the night train to consult Dr. Sathe. A little later she was seen by a third tenant Krishnaji, standing in front of the house with a small bag and bedding. Krishnaji also saw the appellant on the road going away from the house. All these people have said that they found Laxmibai in a good state of health and going about performing her normal avocations of life. There was a passenger train leaving Poona for Bombay at 10 p.m. Laxmibai and the appellant went by this train to Bombay on November 12, 1956. Though the appellant denied this, the Courts below have found that they travelled in the same compartment. The train reached Victoria Terminus Station, Bombay, at 5-10 a.m. on November 13. Laxmibai had then gone into a comatose condition. The appellant procured a stretcher and carried her into a taxi with the help of porters and took her to Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital, usually called for short G.T. Hospital, which is about six furlongs from the station. They reached the hospital at about 5-45 a.m. Laxmibai was taken to the Outdoor Department where Dr.

Ugale, the Casualty Officer in charge, admitted her 'into the hospital. According to Dr. Ugale, the appellant told him that the name of the unconscious woman was Indumati Paunshe and her age was forty. The appellant gave as the address of the patient the address of his own dispensary at Poona, namely, ” C/o Dr. Lagu 20-B, Shukrawar, Gala No. 12, Poona 2 “. Dr. Ugale said that the appellant at his request spelt the name “Paunshe” and he took it down as spelt by the appellant. On enquiry about the history of the patient by Dr. Ugale the appellant told him that the patient suddenly became unconscious in the train while coming from upcountry and that there was a history of similar attacks frequently before. Dr. Ugale also said that the appellant told him that he thought that the case was one of hysterical fit from 525 which she frequently suffered. He did not tell Dr. Ugale that the patient suffered from any other disease. He said that he had brought the unconscious woman to Bombay for getting her examined by a specialist and that she was his patient. Dr. Ugale entered in the appropriate record of the hospital called the case paper, all that the appellant told him and what he himself had noticed. As a result of his own examination Dr. Ugale found that the patient was making some involuntary movement, the corneal reflex was absent, the pupils were normal and reactive. He found nothing abnormal in the cardiovascular system or the respiration. There was a clerk sitting by the side of Dr. Ugale when the appellant was speaking to him and he made the necessary entries in another record of the hospital. In that record the name of the patient appears as Indumati Pankshe. Dr. Ugale examined the person of Laxmibai and found no ornament or cash on her.

Within four or five minutes of the time that she arrived at the Out door Department of the hospital, Laxmibai was removed to Ward No. 12. Dr. Anija, a young woman doctor, who had passed out the previous June, was then the House Physician in attendance at that ward. The appellant accompanied Laxmibai to the ward and introduced himself to Dr. Anija as Dr. Lagu, which is his name. He told her that while travelling in a train from upcountry the patient had got unconscious and therefore he had brought her straight from the station to the hospital and that before the journey the patient was alright. He further said that the patient had similar attacks before.

The appellant also told Dr. Anija that he was the family physician of the patient and a family friend and spoke of some of the illnesses from which the patient had earlier suffered. Dr. Anija made some notes in the case paper of what she heard from the appellant and then examined the patient, the result of which she also similarly noted in the case paper. Thereafter, according to Dr. Anija, she tested the patient's urine in a laboratory attached to the ward and recorded the finding on the case paper. She then administered some stimulant and oxygen and also 67 526 gave an injection of 40 units of insulin as she thought,' as a result of the urine test, that the case was one of diabetic coma. There is some dispute as to whether the urine was examined by Dr. Anija at this time and as to when the entries on the case paper of the results of the examination had been made. This will be discussed later.

Dr. Anija examined the urine of the patient for the second time at about 8-30 a.m. and that also disclosed a certain quantity of Sugar. She said that she then sent a call to the Registrar of the ward, who was her immediate superior, to come and see the case. The Registrar came and, according to Dr. Anija, directed that the patient be given another 40 units of insulin with 20 c.c. of glucose by intravenous injection and that she be also given ” intra-gastric glucose drip ” and this was done at about 9 a.m. At about 11 a.m.

the HonorarY Visiting Physician, Dr. Variava, came to the hospitals Dr. Anija told him that it was a case of diabetic coma. Dr. Variava then himself examined the patient and thereafter asked Dr. Anija why she thought it to be a case of diabetic coma, to which Dr. Anija replied that she did so because there was sugar present in the urine. Dr. Variava then asked her whether she had examined the urine for acetone to which she replied that she had not. Dr. Variava thereupon reprimanded her by saying ” How can you diagnose a case of diabetic coma without ascertaining acetone in the urine ?” Thereafter under the directions of Dr. Variava, Dr.

Anija again tested the urine and showed it to Dr. Variava who thought that the urine contained a slight trace of acetone. Shortly after this urine test the patient, that is, Laxmibai expired. It was then about 11-30 a.m. Dr.

Variava then told Dr. Anija that he did not think that the case was one of diabetic coma and that therefore he wanted a postmortem examination of the body of the deceased. Dr.

Anija then made a note on the case paper stating ” Asked for postmortem ” and put her signature below the entry. She did not then put down anything in the column there about the final diagnosis. Dr. Variava did not wait to see the entry about 527 postmortem being made by Dr. Anija but left to attend other cases. It is clear that the appellant was present in the hospital up to the time of the death Of Laxmibai though in his statement in the trial Court he had denied this. There is no evidence as to how long he remained in the hospital after Laxmibai's death but it is clear that he was in Poona on November 14. There was arrangement in the hospital for conducting postmortem examinations. The case papers along with note ” Asked for postmortem ” had been sent by Dr. Anija to the Resident Medical Officer of the hospital, Dr. Mouskar. It was his duty to arrange for the postmortem examination. The case paper came to Dr. Mouskar's office at 1 p.m. but he did not proceed to make any arrangement for having a postmortem examination held. Instead, at about 2 p. m. he sent an official telegram to the appellant at Poona at the address which he had given to Dr. Ugale and which was recorded in the case paper. The telegrams was in these words:

” Indumati expired arrange removal reply immediately.” On November 14, the appellant wrote from Poona a letter in reply to the telegram. This letter was in these terms:

” I have already telegraphed to the brother of Shrimati Indumati Panshe at Calcutta, earliest he will reach Bombay on the 15th November, 1956, Thursday. His name is Govind Vaman Deshpande; he will enquire as Indumati Panshe. I have seen the name of the patient entered in the Ward Book as Indumati Pannshe as 'n' extra. Please correct' it. I am writing all these things in connection of a case woman aged 30-35 years admitted in G. T. Hospital at 6 a.m. on Tuesday 13th November, 1956, and expired the same day at about 11 a.m. Shri Govind Vaman Deshpande will take the body and do the necessary funeral function according to Hindu rites.” Laxmibai had in fact no brother of the name of Govind Vaman Deshpande and in fact the appellant 528 had sent no telegram as he stated in the letter. The statements in the letter were all false. The letter was received in the office of Dr. Mouskar in the afternoon of November 15. Not having received any reply from the appellant to his telegram, Dr. Mouskar on November 14, at about 4 p. m., sent the following information to the Inspector of Police-A Esplanade P. S., Bombay.

Sir, I am to state that Smt. Indumati Paunshe, Hindu, female, aged 40 years was admitted in Ward No.Xll for treatment of hysterical fits on 13th November, 1956, at 5-45 a. m. She died on the same day at 11-30 a.m.

The address given at the time of admission is as follows:

C/o Dr. Lagu, 20B, Shukrawar, Gala No. 12, Poona-2. A telegram on the above address has already been sent, but without any response.

It is therefore requested that the body may please be removed and taken to the J. J. Hospital Morgue for avoiding decomposition.” A copy of this letter was sent to the Coroner for information. The letter was written as in the G. T.

Hospital there was no air conditioned morgue and there was one in the J. J. Hospital.

On receipt of this letter the police immediately wrote to the Coroner for permission to remove the body from the G. T.

Hospital to the J. J. Hospital. The permission was granted by the Coroner at about 7-50 p.m. on the same day. The body was thereupon removed from the G. T. Hospital to the J. J.

Hospital morgue at about 9 p.m. on November 14. On the same day, that is, November 14, at about 9-30 p. m.

the police again wrote to the Coroner stating that it had received a report from the Resident Medical Officer, G. T.

Hospital of the death of one Indumati Paunshe, referring evidently to the letter which Dr. Mouskar had earlier on the same day written to the 529 police,and that Indumati appeared to have no relatives in Bombay and further that the cause of death was not certified and requesting in the circumstances that an inquest over the death might be held. What happened about this request will be stated later.

On November 15, the Bombay police sent a wireless message to the police at Poona intimating that on November 13, one Indumati Paunshe, who had been admitted to the G.T. Hospital for treatment of hysterical fits, had died on the very day in the hospital and her address was ” C/o Dr. Lagu, 20B, Shukrawar, Gala No. 12, Poona 2 ” and asking that enquires might be made at the above address and the relatives might be asked to claim the dead body which was lying unclaimed.

Pursuant to this message, the Poona police interviewed the appellant at Poona on November 16, when he made the following statement:

“On November 12 he left Poona for Bombay by the 10 p.m.

train and had gone off to sleep. Towards the end of the journey when he started preparing to get down at Bombay, he found one woman fast asleep. From other passengers he came to know that her name was Indumati Paunshe about 35 years of age and she had a brother serving in Calcutta. When other passengers got down at Victoria Terminus Station in Bombay, the woman did not awake. He thereupon looked at her keenly and found her senseless. Being himself a doctor he thought it his duty to take her to the hospital and so took her to the G. T. Hospital in a taxi. As he had taken that woman to the hospital, the Casualty Medical Officer took his address.

He had no more information about the woman. She was not his relation and he was not in any way responsible for her.” The statement so made by the appellant was received by the Bombay police from the Poona police on November 17. I now come back to the events that were happening at Bombay.

I have earlier stated that the case paper had not initially given the final diagnosis as to the 530 cause of Laxmibai's death but bore the endorsement “Asked for postmortem “. At some stage, as to which the evidence is conflicting and which I will have to discuss later, the endorsement ” Asked for postmortem ” was crossed out and the words “diabetic coma ” were written on the case paper as the caus of the death of the patient. Both of these alterations had been made by Dr. Anija who put her signature under the crossed out entry. Dr. Mouskar on November 15, sent to the Coroner a certificate of the death of the patient Indumati in the G. T. Hospital stating therein diabetic coma as the cause of her death. By this time the alteration in the case paper had clearly been made, crossing out the direction as to postmortem examination and stating therein diabetic coma as the cause of death. On the same day, that is, November 15, the police wrote a letter to Dr.

Mouskar, apparently in ignorance of the death certificate issued by him, requesting him to send per bearer the cause of the death of ” Indumati “. This letter was sent with a copy, the idea being that the original would be retained by the Hospital and the copy returned with an acknowledgement of the receipt of the original made on it. Both these were however produced from the police custody without any endorsement by the hospital acknowledging the receipt of either. The copy bore the following remark, “Diabetic coma, Dr. N. S. Variava, G. T. Hospital.” It is clear on the evidence that the endorsement had not been made by Dr.

Variava. Dr. Anija also denied having made it though before the police she admitted that the words ” Diabetic coma ” had been written by her. Dr. Mouskar said that neither the original nor the copy had ever come to him and he thought that the endorsement “Diabetic coma” might be in Dr. Anija's hand writing but he could not say by whom the words “Dr.

N.S. Variava, G. T. Hospital” had been written adding that the words ” Dr. N. S. Variava ” had not been written by Dr.

Variava. The question as to who made the endorsement will be discussed later.

On receipt of the death certificate from Dr. Mouskar, the Coroner's office made on the letter of the police 531 dated November 14, asking an inquest to be made, which I have earlier mentioned, an endorsement directing that no inquest was necessary as the Resident Medical Officer, G. T.

Hospital had certified the cause of death and had issued the death certificate. On November 19, the Coroner's office directed that the dead body might be disposed of as unclaimed after taking a photograph of it. A photograph of the dead body was duly taken on the same day. In the meantime the Grant Medical College had written to the Coroner on November 17, for authority to take over certain unclaimed dead bodies lying in the J.J. Hospital mortuary, for dissection purposes and thereupon the Coroner made an order directing that the dead bodies might be made over to the Grant Medical College. Pursuant to this order, the dead bodies, which included that of Laxmibai, were then made over to the Grant ,Medical College on November 20, 1956. When the dead body of Laxmibai was about to be taken to the dissection hall, some scratches on the neck were detected.

The Professor of Anatomy of the College did not thereupon allow the body to be dissected and brought the discovery to the notice of the police. The police then wrote to the Coroner that in view of this, a postmortem and an inquest might be held. Accordingly, under the instructions of the Coroner, Dr. Jhala, Police Surgeon, Bombay, held a postmortem examination of the body of Laxmibai on November

23. He found no sign of decomposition in the body nor any characteristic smell of any recognisable poison. He also found the scratches on the neck to be postmortem. Dr. Jhala sent the viscera to the Government Chemical Examiner who sent the report of his examination on December 19, 1956, wherein he stated that he was unable to detect any poison in the viscera. Thereupon, Dr. Jhala submitted his postmortem report stating that in his opinion death could have occurred on account of diabetic coma. In the meantime, after the postmortem examination, the body of Laxmibai had been made over to the Hindu Relief Society for cremation on November 24 and the cremation had been duly carried out.

532 It is now necessary to go back to Poona and relate what the appellant did after Laxmibai's death. To describe it summarily, the appellant did not give any one the information of Laxmibai's death but on the contrary.

represented that she was alive and moving about from place to place and in the meantime misappropriated most of her moneys.

I will now give some details of his activities in relation to Laxmibai's moneys. It will be remembered that about November 8, the appellant had taken from Laxmibai a notice to the Bank for withdrawal of money and a withdrawal slip, none of which bore any date. The appellant inserted on the notice of withdrawal the date November 15, 1956, and lodged it in the Bank on the same day or soon thereafter.

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