Bengaluru Urban and Rural have collectively reported 21,866 cases on May 4. There has been a steady increase in the demand for hospital beds across the city due to the surge in Covid cases. Amidst the health crisis Bengaluru is facing, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya has alleged that a ‘Bribe for Bed’ scam is going at at BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike). Surya alleged that the war room officials at BBMP were falsely booking beds meant for the Covid-19 positive patients in exchange for money.
According to BJP MP, 4065 beds in Bengaluru were found to have been booked illegally. He added that BBMP officials were allegedly attempting to sell the beds in exchange for money. Surya, along with MLAs Uday Garudachar and Sathish Reddy, went to the BBMP war room and confronted the officials regarding the alleged bed allotment scam. The case has been handed over to Central Crime Branch for further investigation.
Tejasvi alleged that the BBMP officials were allotting the beds meant for Covid-19 patients to asymptomatic patients. They were then charging as much as Rs 50,000 for blocking a bed. During the confrontation, Surya questioned the civic body officials how they managed to admit a new patient within thirty seconds of the previous patient who was discharged.
IMPORTANT Addressing issues of irregularities and anomalies in BBMP bed booking for covid patients in Bengaluru along with Bommanahalli MLA Shri. Satish Reddy, Basavanagudi MLA Shri. Ravi Subramanya and Chickpet MLA Shri. Uday Garudachar. https://t.co/mzjjiQq7AP— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) May 4, 2021
Further, Surya questioned how the war-room personnel who were related to each other were appointed. He also questioned the hiring process of 17 individuals and asked about the agency that they belonged to.
Some of the names he enquired about while confronting BBMP officials are Mansoor Ali, Tahir Ali Khan, Sadiq Pasha, Md Zayed, Alsai Saheer, Umer Khan, Salman Urif, Zameer Pasha, Zabiullah Khan, Sayed Hasnain, Sayed Shahid, Sayeed Shahbaz, Md Yunus, Syed Mohin and Syed Mukesh.
BBMP officials, Aarogya Mitra Hospitals and private agents were involved, alleges Tejasvi
During the press conference, Surya said that there are enough beds in Bengaluru city. However, the war room personnel had been running a racket of false blocking the beds. They were then allotting those beds to the people in exchange for money. He added that there was a nexus between BBMP officials, Aarogya Mitra hospitals and private agents who were indulging in the said crime.
He said, “People of Bengaluru have been trying to get a single bed to save their near and dear ones. However, each day the BBMP bed booking system showed all beds across the cities are blocked. Every day many patients were getting discharged. Many unfortunately died and discharged. So there must be beds available, but the system showed there were no beds available.”
He added that there were certain BBMP officials, certain Aarogya Mitra Hospitals and certain private agents outside hospitals who made the ‘Bribe for Beds’ scam. “People were at home isolated and not even aware that beds were being booked in their name. Thereafter, the agents outside would talk to the in charge inside the hospital and re-allot the bed to patients after they made certain payment,” he added.
Explaining the scam, Surya added, “After a bed is booked, after a bed is booked for a patient and he does not get admitted, after 12 hours the bed gets unbooked. In those 12 hour window, agents contact patients looking for admission and divert beds to them.” He said that they contacted multiple people under whose names the beds were booked but found that they had recovered long back. He also added that ICU and ventilators were also assigned to those who could pay the bribe.
He also alleged that some set of people were reserving beds for influential people such as ministers, MLAs and MPs.
CM Yediyurappa promises ‘severe action’
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa promised swift action against those who were involved in the scam. Later in the evening, Kamal Pant, Police Commissioner, Bengaluru City, said that two of the accused who were arrested had been handed over CCB for further investigation. Two agents identified as Rohit and Netra have been booked under Sections 420 and 384 of the IPC. Police said that they were selling ICU beds to the patients in exchange for Rs 50,000 per bed. Police recovered Rs 1,05,000 from their bank accounts.