5 held in connection with Karnataka hospital bed-blocking scam


PTI, May 7, 2021, 7:04 PM IST

Bengaluru: Five people have been arrested so far for allegedly blocking beds in private hospitals in the city for COVID-19 patients, police said on Friday.

“Other than four-five people, we have not arrested anyone else though our investigations are on,” a police officer probing the matter said.

“We are not going by what’s being circulated in the social media. We are limiting our investigation to what is there before us, that is, we are investigating only the bed blocking scam,” the officer added.

According to police, those who have been arrested in the ‘bed blocking scam’ are Nethravathi, Rohith, Venkat Subba Rao, Manjunath and Punith.

Investigation so far has not revealed the involvement of those Muslims whose names were mentioned by Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya on Tuesday in a live programme, police sources said.

Police said searches were carried out in the COVID war room on Thursday and technical data was obtained to check any irregularity.

In addition to this, doctors, who are in charge of each zone war rooms, are being questioned.

CCTV footage of all war rooms has already been collected and identification is being done about any unauthorised person in the war room and reasons for it, they said.

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya had recently alleged that hospitals here ‘blocked’ beds in fake names to make money, at a time when COVID-19 cases were rising in Karnataka.

Surya said officials of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike ‘colluded’ with private nursing homes and hospitals to block beds and reserve it for exorbitant fees.

The Karnataka government has ordered reserving 80 per cent of the beds in the private hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

The BMP was assigned to allot beds for the COVID-19 patients seeking treatment in private hospitals.

However, due to the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, most of the beds are fully occupied even as the demand is growing manifold.

To deal with the demand, the BBMP has set up nine COVID War Rooms at its zonal level and entrusted an employment firm to deploy its workforce on a contract basis.

A BBMP official said the War Rooms have 214 people and not just 16 as has been presented by the BJP MP.

Hitting out at Surya, Chamarajpet Congress MLA BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan said in a video message, “There were over 205 employees of Crystal Company, who were deployed in the COVID War Room on contract basis but you singled out only 16 Muslims. How fair is this?.. ”

Khan even claimed that only one person, Mohammed Zaid was assigned with the task of bed allotment while others were given different jobs.

He even said the job of 16 people who were making a living with a salary of Rs 13,000 is now at stake following the alleged scam.

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