In an incident that highlights pandemic profiteering at play, two people were arrested for allegedly demanding Rs 5 lakh from a COVID-infected patient on the pretense of arranging a bed in Delhi's Safdarjung hospital.
The duo, identified as Pankaj Kumar and RamKavalpreet Kaur, are siblings and were arrested for allegedly cheating a patient and extracting ₹2.8 lakh, according to DCP Pranav Tayal, reported The Indian Express.
Pankaj worked as a laboratory assistant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, and had been coordinating with his sister to indulge in such activities. The complainant, Haripal Kumar, reportedly lodged a complaint with the COVID helpline which aided the police in starting their investigation.
An FIR was filed and the officials came across the contact details of Pankaj who had demanded the amount for admission. Later, he sent his sister's contact details and intimated that she would help them secure a bed.
Haripal's son stayed in touch with Kaur but was able to get admission in the hospital without their aid.
"After admission, they started claiming that she was admitted because of them and started demanding Rs 5 lakh and his son gave Rs 2.8 lakh as advance payment. After taking money, both of them went to Himachal Pradesh from where they have been arrested," DCP Tayal said.
With coronavirus infections on the rise in the national capital, there have been reports of extreme shortages of essential medical supplies including hospital beds, ICU beds, oxygen cylinders and COVID medicines. People desperate to save their loved ones are running from pillar to post and in the process often falling prey to such individuals who try to earn extra bucks by cashing in on people's helplessness.
Earlier this week, the Delhi Police arrested businessman Navneet Kalra, who has been accused of black marketing oxygen concentrators in Delhi, along with an international SIM company called Matrix Cellular Services Ltd. The police recovered more than 500 oxygen concentrators in three restaurants owned by Kalra. The SIM company apparently sold more than 7,000 machines to COVID patients and their families at exorbitant prices.
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