Bengaluru Covid bed scam: Tejasvi Surya’s claim finds communal twist; Police says racket unearthed

By: |
May 06, 2021 1:46 PM

Tejaswi Surya had claimed to have unravelled a scam that led to a shortage of beds in Bengaluru.

Tejaswi Surya BBMP Bed scamTejaswi Surya's claims came amid reports of some MLAs directing hospitals in their constituencies to reserve up to 15 per cent beds as their quota.

At a time when Bengaluru is struggling to contain COVID-19 cases, the citizens are also finding it difficult to find beds in hospitals across the cities. However, the issue of shortage of beds in Bengaluru led to an unsurprising turn of events when BJP MP Tejaswi Surya claimed to have revealed a bed scam in the Bengaluru Municipal Corporation. A video of Surya naming 17 Muslim workers added a communal twist to the issue. The BJP MP and two-party MLAs, including Surya’s uncle alleged a scam in the BBMP’s bed allotment system for Covid patients.

After the allegations were raised, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa yesterday ordered the police’s crime branch to investigate the claims made.

Tejaswi Surya had claimed to have unravelled a scam that led to a shortage of beds in Bengaluru. He claimed that there is a nexus of certain BBMP officers, Arogya Mitras (hospital liaison officers) and certain outside agents who have offer bed in return for money. “Beds are blocked in the names of asymptomatic patients without the knowledge of the patients who are at home. Thereafter the agents speak to the people in the war room and get the blocked bed allotted to people who are willing to pay,” the MP claimed.

He claimed that over 4 thousand cases have come to light following his team’s analysis where booked beds were unblocked. “A bed is blocked for 12 hours and afterwards it is sold — if unsold the bed is unblocked,” he added.

One of the several videos released by the MP’s team showed Surya, his uncle Ravi Subramanya and Sathish Reddy — both are MLAs in south Bengaluru — questioning workers in the BBMP’s south zone war room on the presence of 17 Muslim staff at the facility. While Surya was seen questioning their recruitment process, Sathish Reddy was seen asking, “Have you recruited people for a madrasa or for the city corporation?” it shows Subramanya asking. “Is it a Haj Bhavan list?”

On 4th May, Tejaswi Surya tweeted saying that the system is reforming as the BBMP portal started showing vacant beds. “This afternoon BBMP website showed zero beds available in Bengaluru under Govt Quota. Right now, it is showing 1504 beds as available. The system is reforming,” said Surya.

Tejaswi Surya’s claims came amid reports of some MLAs directing hospitals in their constituencies to reserve up to 15 per cent beds as their quota.

Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Sandeep Patil said two police complaints have been registered and four persons, including a woman, have been arrested so far. Police have identified two of those arrested as Netravathi and Rohit Kumar. The police claimed that the arrests were made on a tip-off that the two were acting as agents for booking beds in BBMP.

Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City Kamal Pant today said that a case of black marketing of hospital beds has been unearthed by the DCP Central Division. “A case of black marketing of hospital beds has been unearthed by the @DCPCentralBCP. A patient Laxmidevamma who was diagnosed with COVID-19 was brought to a private hospital. Due to the non-availability of ICU beds in the hospital, 2 persons, Venkata Subbarao & Manjunath connected to the hospital and in connivance with Punith – working as Arogya Mitra in another hospital, demanded & extorted Rs 1,20,000 from Lakshmisha, the son of the victim for alloting a bed in a reputed hospital. Rs 50K was paid via GPay & Rs 70K was paid in cash by the victim’s son Lakshmisha. The bed was allotted and Laxmidevamma died a few hours later. Based on the complaint of Lakshmisha, a case has been registered in Sadashivanagar PS and the 3 accused have been arrested. Further investigation is underway,” he informed on Twitter.

Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai promised action and said the government will start a daily bulletin on bed positions in the state’s hospitals for Covid-19 treatment.

Meanwhile, former chief minister of the state and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah said it is really unfortunate and insensitive on the part of Surya to communalise the issue.

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