3 more, including Arogya Mitra, held in 'cash-for-bed scam' in Bengaluru
Bengaluru, May 10 — The Bengaluru central crime branch police on Monday arrested three persons including a health department official who talked about the 'cash for bed scam' in hospitals at a time when the Covid second wave is sweeping across the state.
With the arrests the total number of arrests touched seven with the CCB having arrested four persons on Friday, a CCB press release stated here on Monday.
According to the police, the three arrested on Monday have been identified as Shashidhar, an Arogya Mitra, apart from Venkat Rao and Sudhir Umarani, who were working in two separate private hospitals and used to coordinate with Shashidhar to block and unblock beds of the hospitals they represented.
Meanwhile, four others accused who have links with this scam are identified as Rohit Kumar, Nethravathy, Rihan, and Shashi Kumar.
In Bengaluru the Arogya Mitras are responsible for coordinating with SAST (Survarna Arogya Suraksha Trust) and counselling the Covid and non-Covid patients seeking treatment at the empanelled hospitals.
Karnataka's (SAST) has appointed Arogya Mitras in all private hospitals to look after the admission of Covid and Non Covid patients and to ensure 50 per cent of beds are reserved for patients referred by the state government. The Arogya Mitras (health officials) have to ensure that the beds are reserved for government quota patients.
"Shashidhar worked as an Arogya Mitra, Rao and Umarani were working as staff members at Sparsh Hospital (RR Nagar) and Punya Hospital (Basaveshwar Nagar)," Bengaluur's Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil told reporters.
CCB sleuths said that these three accused allegedly blocked real-time data entry to the Central Hospital Bed Management System hosted by the Bengaluru Civic Body.
"Even after patients were discharged either after recovering from Covid-19 or succumbing to the infection, these accused did not forward the data to their jurisdiction BBMP war room to be updated into the bed management system. Instead, they blocked such beds and allowed admission to other patients which is illegal," an investigating officer said.
The police officer added that this has led to many other deserving patients suffering without timely treatment and in some cases patients have even succumbed to the deadly virus.
According to the CCB, a total of 18 persons were questioned on Friday with regard to the bed allotment scam, including doctors in war rooms, hospital staff, and staff in charge of the ambulance app.
The police have registered a case and are investigating.