Two employees of a private hospital and an Arogya Mitra at another hospital were arrested on Wednesday, May 5, over alleged black-marketing of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
THe arrests come a day after BJP lawmakers including Bengaluru South MP, Tejasvi Surya, claimed to have exposed the bed-blocking scam in the BBMP.
However, these arrests are not related to the alleged bed-blocking scam in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), reported Deccan Herald.
The police said a team comprising Venkata Subbarao, a cardiac technician, and Manjunath, a marketing executive, both working at People Tree Hospital and Puneeth, an Arogya Mitra, sold a bed for ₹1.2 lakh at Ramaiah Hospital.
A COVID-19 patient, Laxmidevamma, who was initially undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Nelamangala, was recommended to shift to People Tree Hospital for further treatment. But the facility didn't have any Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds.
The patient's son named Lakshmisha was approached by Subbarao and Manjunath, who cashed in the patient's situation and offered an ICU bed at Ramaiah Hospital for Rs 1.2 lakh. They sought the help of Puneeth, an Arogya Mitra at Ramaiah Hospital, said M N Anucheth, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central).
Who Is Arogya Mitra?
An Arogya Mitra is a frontline healthcare worker who serves as the first contact for beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (the central government's health insurance scheme) at empanelled hospitals.
The trio made Lakshmisha pay ₹50,000 through Google Pay and another ₹70,000 in cash after the bed was allotted to his mother. However, the patient died within a few hours of hospitalisation.
Lakshmisha's brother Chethan dialled 112, Karnataka's all-in-one emergency helpline, and reported the matter. After that, Sadashivanagar police, who have jurisdiction over Ramaiah Hospital, swung into action and arrested the trio.