Bengaluru: The Bengaluru police have arrested four persons besides nabbing another four for questioning over the 'cash for bed allotment scam in hospitals that were 'unearthed' by Bengaluru South MP and BJP leader Tejasvi Surya, as per an IANS report.
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 a 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, 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.
Surprisingly, all this was happening in the control rooms operated by the BBMP, which directly comes under the control of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, as the, expose by Surya revealed on Tuesday.
The police added that when the people 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 unravelled 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.
A day after BJP MP from Bengaluru South, Tejasvi Surya, accused some officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) of running 'a massive racket' in hospital bed allotment, a joint commissioner in the city municipal body alleged in a Facebook post that 'anti-social elements' were inciting communal tension and 'spreading poison.'
Sarfaraz Khan, the joint commissioner, was responding to a viral WhatsApp message, accusing the BBMP's Muslim employees of mismanagement. The viral message had listed names of 16 presumably Muslim employees of the BBMP, branding them as "terrorists killing thousands of Bengalurians."