News Brief

Pune Porsche Crash: Forensic Head Exchanged 14 Phone Calls With Minor’s Father Two Hours Before Sample Collection, Police Reveals

Swarajya Staff

May 29, 2024, 04:47 PM | Updated 04:47 PM IST

Pic Via Twitter
Pic Via Twitter

Another revelation comes a day after two doctors and a staffer from the state-run Sassoon General Hospital were arrested for allegedly switching the blood sample of a minor accused of driving the Porsche that fatally ran over two engineers on 19 May.

Police have now revealed that Dr Ajay Taware, the head of the hospital’s Forensic Medicine Department, exchanged 14 phone calls with the minor’s father in the two hours before the sample collection.

During a court session on Monday (27 May), where the police sought remand for Dr Taware and the other two suspects, officers claimed the accused had taken bribes to alter the minor’s blood sample.

The investigation found that the minor’s sample was discarded in a dustbin and replaced with another person’s blood for alcohol testing.

After their arrests, police searched the premises linked to Dr Taware, Dr Shrihari Halnor (a Casualty Medical Officer), and Atul Ghatkamble (a hospital morgue worker). They recovered Rs 2.5 lakh from Dr Halnor and Rs 50,000 from Ghatkamble.

A senior police officer stated, "The amounts recovered from Halnor and Ghatkamble are believed to be their cuts. The primary focus now is on Dr Taware’s financial transactions, including how much he received or was promised and by whom."

The police are also examining how the minor’s father connected with Dr Taware and whether a mediator was involved.

The sample switch was detected because police, acting on intelligence about possible tampering, collected a second sample from the minor at the District Hospital in Aundh.

Both samples were sent for analysis on 20 May, and DNA testing revealed discrepancies between the Sassoon sample and the minor’s father’s DNA.

Although the minor’s second sample returned negative for alcohol, Pune Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar attributed this to the 20-hour delay between the accident and sample collection.

For the prosecution of the three Sassoon Hospital employees, police are obtaining two separate sanctions from the state government: one under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prosecute public servants and another under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for bribery charges.

The court remanded the three accused in police custody until 30 May. The minor’s father, who had previously been arrested, has also been named an accused in the blood sample switch case, and the police are expected to seek his custody in connection with this matter.

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