Karnataka Police Arrest Four In Connection With COVID Bed Allocation Scam In Bengaluru

Karnataka Police Arrest Four In Connection With COVID Bed Allocation Scam In BengaluruThe BBMP headquarters at NR Square

The Bengaluru police have arrested four persons besides nabbing another four for questioning over the 'cash for bed allotment scam in hospitals that was 'unearthed' by Bengaluru South MP and BJP leader Tejasvi Surya.

Joint commissioner of Police (Crime), Sandeep Patil, tweeted that in two separate cases, the Central Crime Branch police team has arrested four persons so far and conducted searches in eight locations, besides picking up four others for questioning in connection with the case.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), Harish Pandey, the accused persons include one Nethravathy (40), a social worker, and Rohith Kumar (22), her nephew. They were apprehended following sting operation conducted by the police.

"Our team approached them for beds posing as relatives of a Covid-19 patient. We then realised that the duo from Begur would charge between Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000 after assessing the financial status of the person seeking a bed," Pandey had said on Tuesday (4 May), just hours before Surya had stormed into the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) control room.

According to the police, the modus operandi of these accused persons was to book hospital beds in the name of asymptomatic patients in home isolation and keep them blocked.

"They used to block the beds in the hospital as well as in government records. The blocking period used to be for 12 hours, and during this time, the accused used to divert these beds to those who were willing to pay a premium," the police explained.

The police added that the same modus operandi was adopted for the ICU and ventilator beds, which were allocated only after the 'premium' was received.

The police have identified only two of the arrested accused so far while the names of the other two are yet to be revealed.

“We are not disclosing further details to ensure that no one involved in the case gets a chance to evade investigation," a senior official was quoted by the Indian Express as saying.

The police added that when the people on whose names the beds were blocked were contacted, it was found that they had recovered long ago and were not even aware of the fact that hospital beds were booked in their name.

After several media outlets reported that beds were being sold at a premium, Surya stormed into the BBMP control room on Tuesday and took the officials to task for giving wrong information on bed occupancy.

He also unraveled widespread corruption in allocating Covid beds, which brought embarrassment for his own party which is in power in the state.

Later, Surya claimed that people working in the Covid war room were running a racket by falsely blocking hospital beds and allotting them in return for money.

He also alleged that there was no shortage of beds in the city, and those involved in this scam would face the consequence.

Surya had also charged that the hospital officials were not providing the data on bed availability.

(With inputs from IANS)

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