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Charity ‘toolkit’: How Sonu Sood’s foundation sought help from BJP’s Tejasvi Surya but took all the credit himself

Netizens have often raised suspicions that Sonu Sood had been falsely claiming credit for arranging help for Covid-19 patients without having done so.

On May 12, a possible oxygen crisis was averted at Shreyas Hospital by the efforts of Bengaluru Police, Bengaluru Fire Department, Drug Controlling Department, and BJP MP Tejasvi Surya’s office. However, somehow, Sood Charity Foundation was all over the news enjoying credit for the good deed. All media reports credited Sonu Sood and his foundation for arranging the oxygen and carefully left out Tejasvi Surya’s office out of the picture.

The chronology of events

OpIndia accessed the first letter written by Dr. Samit Havinal, Shreyas Hospital, which explained the series of events that took place on May 12. Please keep in mind that we are not discrediting anyone from being involved in the whole process of arranging oxygen for the hospital. Everyone of us is doing out best to help others avert the crisis.

Dr. Samit said that around 11 PM, he received a call from the Hospital that liquid oxygen was leaking from the dura cylinder resulting in an insufficient flow. The Hospital has two dura cylinders that they use in rotation to ensure a continuous supply. Their one cylinder was at Bhuruka Gases for refilling at that time, but there was a huge queue.

First version of the letter mentioning Surya’s name

The backup cylinders were also about to give up in an hour, and the life of 19 patients was at stake. He immediately called Arun, PRO, Shreyas Hospital, and called Megha Chowdhary of Sood Charity Foundation requesting her for 5-6 cylinders. Megha further forwarded the request to Hashmath Raza from the foundation and alerted several officials, including Sumukh, OSD to BJP MP Tejasvi Surya. Understanding the urgency, Sumukh immediately called Dr. Samit and took all the details from him.

Once Sumukh had all the details, he further pushed the process to get oxygen at the earliest. He called Bhuruka Gases and tried to get the dura cylinder refilled at the earliest by bypassing the queue. The cylinder was refilled, but it would take another 60 minutes to reach the Hospital. Meanwhile, Mahalaxmi layout inspector Kantharaju and his team reached the Hospital for help with district fire officer Jagadeesh. As a precaution, they had brought a fire ambulance with them. ACP Reena Suvarna also reached the Hospital to assist the team.

First version of the letter mentioning Surya’s name

Drug Control Officers Harish and Suresh also called the Hospital and immediately arranged a few cylinders from a nearby Hospital. Soon, the dura cylinder reached the Hospital, and a major crisis was averted with the help of different departments. In his letter, Dr. Samit thanked Sonu Sood Foundation, Police Department, Fire Department, Drug Controlling Department, and Sumukh from Tejasvi Surya’s office.

War room in action for COVID crisis

Sumukh, who works as Officer on Special Duty at MP Tejasvi Surya’s office, explained that there is a department in the government that acts within minutes of receiving any such SOS call. He mentioned one Rohit, who is a volunteer working to provide Covid-19 relief, during the conversation. He said that it was Rohit who got information from some patient at the hospital, and there is some oxygen crisis going on. Sumukh immediately called Dr. Samit and took a stock of the situation, and alerted Police Department, Fire Department, and Drug Controllers to rush to the hospital immediately.

He also called the gas agency mentioned in the letter and got the queue bypassed so that the cylinder can be refilled on an urgent basis. Meanwhile, the Police helped the hospital with a few cylinders, and the possible crisis was averted within 90 minutes of the call Sumukh made to the doctor at Shreyas Hospital.

Sonu Sood Foundation

Speaking to OpIndia, Hashmath Raza, associated with the Sonu Sood foundation, claimed that Megha, his colleague, learned about the oxygen crisis and alerted him. Raza mobilized his team that rushed to the hospital with the 5-6 cylinders they had with them. They also got the queue bypassed at the gas filling station so that the dura cylinder can be refilled and supplied urgently to the hospital.

When we asked him how he managed to bypass the long queue at the gas refilling station, he claimed that his organization had called PRO to the health minister who got it done. During the whole conversation, he did not mention the name of Sumukh or Tejasvi Surya even once.

Even in the tweet shared by Sood Charity Foundation, Surya’s name was not mentioned.

The incident, as narrated by Dr Samit

Dr Samit, while speaking to OpIndia, confirmed the chronology of events as mentioned in the letter first issued by his hospital. He specifically spoke about Sumukh, Tejasvi’s Surya’s OSD, Police Department, Fire Department, and Drug Controllers helped them get the oxygen on time. He did mention that they had called Sonu Sood’s foundation for help, who possibly forwarded the request to Surya’s office, after which everyone got in action.

Surya’s name missing from the second version of the letter

In the second version of the letter that we accessed, the name of Tejasvi Surya’s office was completely removed. Sumukh’s name was there, but it was unclear how he could have helped as his designation was not mentioned anywhere.

Final version of the letter where the name of Tejaswi Surya’s office was completely removed

This version of the letter was also posted by Kamal Pant, Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City who wrote, “It’s all about saving lives! Swift response and timely action by PI Mr. Kantharaju of @mhlayoutps, @acpjcnagar, Sonu Sood Foundation, and officials of other departments saved the lives of nearly 30-COVID patients at Shreyas Hospital. They rushed to the hospital when an O2 leak was detected on the night of May 12 and arranged emergency cylinders in the nick of time. Kudos to our #COVIDHeroes. Greatly appreciate!”

Dharmender Kumar Meena, Deputy Commissioner of Police, North Division, Bengaluru City wrote, “Shri Kanthraj,PI Mahalaxmi nd team along with other responders risen to occasion and swiftly mobilised technician and spare oxygen cylinders to mitigate a life-threatening O2 leak situation at Shreyas Hospital under supervision of @acpjcnagar. Well Done Team.”

Sumukh, while talking to OpIndia, said, “It is possible that Sood Charity Foundation did not want themselves to get associated with any political party, so they got the name of Surya’s office removed from the letter. However, it is not correct to discredit the government’s efforts and take the credit of something in which your involvement was almost negligible.”

Sonu Sood had recently called out by Ganjam DM for taking credit for arranging bed for COVID patient when the administration had received no such communication from the actor’s charity foundation. Sonu Sood had claimed on the 15th of May that a bed had been arranged at the Ganjam City Hospital after a request was made by one Pradeep Behera. The account, which allegedly belongs to one Pradeep Behera, had said that he was looking for a bed for his wife but was unable to manage one. However, district administration said that they received no such communication from Sonu Sood and that the said patient is in home isolation and not in need of bed.

Netizens have often raised suspicions that Sonu Sood had been falsely claiming credit for arranging help for Covid-19 patients without having done so. He had recently claimed credit for supplying plasma to a user who had sought help for a patient but later, the user had clarified that his family had no information on the arrangement.

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B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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