The Primary Health Centre in Sumerpur. (Express Photo: Avaneesh Mishra)
One of the two accused in the gangrape of the 23-year-old Unnao woman — who died last week, a day after she was set on fire by five men, including the accused — had, around a month ago, filed a document in court, claiming that he was admitted to the local Primary Health Centre (PHC) on the date of the alleged rape.
Officials at the Sumerpur PHC, however, confirmed to The Indian Express that the purported “medical registration slip” in the name of Shubham Trivedi is “fake” and that no patient by that name was admitted to the hospital on those dates.
The “registration slip” shows that Shubham was admitted to the PHC on December 10 last year and discharged five days later. The woman has told police that she was gangraped, allegedly by Shubham and his friend Shivam, on December 12 last year. The FIR was registered on March 5 this year.
Shubham’s father Hari Shankar, who is among the five under arrest for setting the woman on fire, had presented the “registration slip” to the High Court, along with a writ petition seeking the removal of Shubham’s name from the FIR on the gangrape.
The “medical slip” mentions that the patient was “admitted for hydrocelectomy”, a surgical procedure to repair hydrocele, with symptoms of “right side swelling of scrotum” and “tenderness”. On the first page and the next are detailed the day-to-day treatment plan of the “patient”.
However, talking to The Indian Express, Dr Jitendra Yadav, Medical Officer (Ayush), who is now in charge of the PHC, said they checked their records and “can confidently say that there was no patient by the name of Shubham Trivedi in the In-Patient Department (IPD) on the mentioned dates”.
Yadav also said the purported medical slip is an OPD slip and insisted that no patient is “ever admitted in the OPD of any hospital”.
“It is clearly an OPD slip and doesn’t mention the name of the doctor. Also, the signature with the PHC stamp is neither of MO (Medical Officer) Dr Rahul Verma or MO 2nd Dr Sagar Singh, who were posted here in December last year. Another important thing is that the serial number mentioned on the slip is 28290 — there is no way that many patients can be admitted in a PHC in one year,” said Yadav, adding that the PHC doesn’t admit any patient for more than 24 hours as it “neither has the facilities nor the specialists”.
Yadav confirmed that the PHC has six beds and around 14-15 medical staff, including four doctors, but no surgeons. The PHC has an operation theatre which is used mainly during monthly sterilisation camps. It was to this PHC that the woman was first brought after she was set ablaze on December 5, before she was referred to the Unnao district hospital.
When asked if police had got in touch with the PHC on the slip, Yadav said that he got to know about the document “through media reports” and that no official has sought for it to be verified.
“If someone asks us, we will reply with facts, but no one has got in touch with us so far though the slip is claimed to be around a year old. When we got to know about such a slip, mentioning that the family of the rape accused has claimed that he was admitted at this PHC, we checked the records and it took us no time to find that the document is not genuine,” said Yadav.
Rajesh Singh, the Investigating Officer (IO) in the gangrape case, said he is aware of the purported “medical slip” but it was not investigated as it never officially came to him. He said that around a month ago, Shubham’s father submitted the “slip” to the High Court, along with a writ petition which was ultimately cancelled by the court.
“Shubham’s father Hari Shankar had earlier given an affidavit to the Rae Bareli Superintendent of Police Swapnil Mamgain, claiming that on the day of the gangrape, his son was in Lucknow to appear for a competitive exam. When the case was transferred to me, I asked the father to provide me proof, like an admit card, to support his claim, but they failed to provide that,” said the IO.
“Later, they filed a writ in the High Court and presented this medical slip as proof. When the High Court asked me about this, I told the court about the affidavit they had submitted earlier (claiming Shubham was in Lucknow) and said that it was contradictory to this document (the “medical slip”). When asked by the court on the fake affidavit, their lawyer claimed he had been misguided by his client. The court dismissed their writ petition,” said the IO.
“Since the medical slip is with the High Court and not the police, we cannot interfere unless the court gives us any direction,” he said. The IO also said that a chargesheet against Shivam and Shubham, the two accused in the gangrape case, has been filed in the court on Monday.
While SP Mamgain said he can’t confirm if he received any such affidavit from Hari Shankar, he said that if there was one, it would have been investigated by the police. “As of now, I do not remember any such letter. There is a possibility that (the accused) met me at some point, and we did not find the claim to be true. In case we receive such a letter, we will investigate it in a time-bound manner,” said the SP.