It’s been almost a month that Swapna Patker is in jail, lawyer after lawyer appeared for her bail but fate could not bring any relief to her. Because, amid all accusations, blame game, pitching politicians to settle the personal scores, mudslinging and malaise have come to a cruel expose.
A self-proclaimed psychologist Swapna Patker was arrested by the Bandra police for practising at Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre for two years as a clinical psychologist using a fake degree. Her name was published on the hospital’s official site but in the recent past, they removed the link. Anyways, let us first read the court order before I write about my personal opinion.
For the offences punishable under Section 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 of IPC. The Investigation Officer had resisted the bail application by filing a detailed reply. As per the directions of Hon’ble Bombay High Court in Cr.Wr.Petition No.2281/2021 vide order dated 25/6/2021.
Court heard advocate Sudeep Pasbola appearing for Swapna Patker, who had submitted that the applicant has been falsely implicated in the above-said crime.
Also read: The ambitious Swapna Patker is in ambush
He said that Patker the applicant was arrested on June 8 and after police custody remand she is languishing in jail. Advocate Pasbola had submitted that as per the allegation, no offence under Section 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 of IPC is made out and there is no loss caused to the informant Gurdeep Kaur, nor the informant is cheated by the applicant in no way or the other. Police have already seized the so-called forged or fabricated documents in the matter and nothing is to be seized from the applicant.
Advocate Pasbola argued that the entire case of the prosecution rests on the documentary evidence, which is already in the custody of the Investigation Officer. He further stated that the applicant Swapna Patker is ready to abide by all the terms and conditions which may be imposed by the Court. Therefore, it is requested to release her on bail.
To which Additional Public Prosecutor for the State Mr Malankar argued that, there is a prima facie case against Swapna Patker to show her involvement in the commission of the alleged crime. It is submitted that the applicant did not obtain any degree or postgraduate education in psychology and she has not obtained any education qualification as mentioned in her profile on social media. So also, she did not attend the course work in any University which is mandatory for pursuing research work. Mr Malankar has asserted that the Deputy Registrar of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj University, Kanpur, from where the accused purportedly procured her PhD degree has informed the investigating officer that the degree of the applicant is not genuine.
Mr Malankar has submitted that the applicant obtained the post of Honorary Consultant with Lilavati Hospital on the basis of a forged degree and she has charged a fee from the patients. APP has also submitted that the applicant offered the certification courses and charged heavily for the same. She is running a private clinic on the basis of forged documents. APP has submitted that two co-accused who are absconding, have supported the applicant and if the applicant is released on bail, she may tamper with the prosecution evidence or witnesses. The investigation is going on therefore it will not be proper to release the applicant on bail. APP Malankar had requested the court to reject the application.
After the both side submissions now the court orders reads as “I have duly considered the above submissions of both the sides. So also, I have gone through the case diary carefully. It is seen that one Gurdeep Kaur lodged the report to the police station Khar alleging that the applicant obtained the forged degree of PhD in Psychology, she is representing herself through her Social Media handles that she is qualified Psychological Expert having earned various degrees and qualifications. It is alleged that she has deceived the public at large as her degrees are forged and fabricated documents. It is alleged that on the basis of forged documents she has obtained an appointment at Lilavati Hospital, also running the private hospital. On the basis of a report lodged by Gurdeep Kaur on 26/5/2021, the above-said crime came to be registered and the applicant was arrested on 8/6/2021.
Thereafter, she was produced before the learned Metropolitan Magistrate 12th Court Bandra Mumbai. It is seen that after police custody, she is in judicial custody. It appears that the investigation is going and co-accused persons are yet to be arrested. The submission of advocate Pasbola that the offences under Section 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 of IPC are not attracted in the case, cannot be decided at this juncture. After completion of the investigation and filing the chargesheet, the court can very well decide what offences are made out, on the basis of the final report of investigation.
Therefore, Considering the facts and circumstances of the case it appears that there is ample material even at this stage. Prima facie, leading to an inference of there being reasonable grounds for believing that the applicant has committed a non-bailable offence. The prosecution has expressed the apprehension that if the applicant is released on bail, there is a possibility that she may tamper with the prosecution evidence or witnesses or she may destroy the evidence which is yet to be collected. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case in my considered opinion it will not be proper to release the applicant on bail at this juncture when the matter is under investigation, otherwise, the wrong message will go to the society.”
The above were the arguments presented by both sides and the court’s decision. Let me now conclude, the court at this point of time is not willing to grant her bail, but few questions remain unanswered. When can the investigations be completed? How much time do the cops need to nab those other two accused who sold alleged fake degrees to Swapna Patker? Do they really exist? If they are caught and investigations are completed, and Swapna Patker is proven guilty then how long she has to be in prison? In that scenario who will compensate her patients from whom she earned lakhs of rupees as fees? Who will take action against Lilavati Hospital for keeping bogus doctors to treat patients who reach out for physiological help? Lilavati should be questioned for this negligence, as it gave validity to her farse?
And finally, the Practo App, which is specially designed for doctors to practice medicine, gave her a platform as an authentic practitioner. Authentic documentation is a basic human resource requirement in every organization. How can such huge hospitals and medical platforms make such blunders? Who will punish them? If she is proven innocent, who will pay for the damages done to her? Which is a rare possibility, but since the matter is in court we can just make speculations.