Pune car crash blood sample manipulation: Police suspect financial transactions in form of 'kickbacks'

Two doctors, staffer in police custody till May 30

Two doctors of the Sassoon General Hospital being taken into police custody after their arrest for alleged manipulation of blood samples | PTI Two doctors of the Sassoon General Hospital being taken into police custody after their arrest for alleged manipulation of blood samples | PTI

Police suspect financial transactions in the form of 'kickbacks' had taken place in the alleged replacement of the original blood sample of the juvenile driver involved in the Porsche car crash with another person's sample by two doctors of state-run Sassoon Hospital arrested on Monday.

The two doctors and an employee of the Hospital were remanded in police custody till May 30 by the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (small causes) A A Pande though the prosecution sought their custody for ten days.

The juvenile's father had called one of the doctors and asked him to change the samples, the prosecution said, adding that police wanted to investigate who else had given the instructions to manipulate the samples.

Police investigating the Porsche car crash wherein two IT professionals on a motorbike were killed on May 19 arrested Dr Ajay Taware, head of the state-run hospital's Forensic Medicine department and Dr Shrihari Halnor, the chief medical officer, and Atul Ghatkamble who works under Dr Tawre.

According to police, the accused juvenile, son of a city builder, was driving drunk at the time of the incident.

Police have added sections 201, 120-B, 467, 213 and 214 of the Indian Penal Code to the original offence registered against the juvenile.

These sections pertain to charges of causing the disappearance of evidence, criminal conspiracy, forgery of valuable security, taking a gift, etc, to screen an offender from punishment, and offering a gift or restoration of property in consideration of screening the offender, respectively.

The teenage boy was initially booked under sections 304 ( culpable homicide not amounting to murder ), 304 A (causing death by negligence ), 279 (rash driving ) and relevant sections of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Public Prosecutor Nilesh Ladkat told the court that the accused persons misused their respective positions for financial gains, and destroyed the evidence of blood samples of the juvenile and replaced them with those of other persons.

He said the police wanted to interrogate the accused persons face to face.

Ladkat told the court that the juvenile's father (Vishal Agrawal) had called Dr Taware and instructed him to change the samples.

"Police wanted to investigate that besides the father on whose instructions the blood samples were replaced," he said.

The investigation revealed that some financial transactions in the form of 'kickbacks' had taken place for the manipulation of the blood samples, the prosecutor said, adding that the police also wanted to conduct house searches of the accused persons and recover the money.

Police are recovering the footage of CCTV cameras and its DVR in the Sassoon General Hospital to find out who had come to meet the accused doctors.

"Mobile phones of the accused have been seized and their technical analysis needs to be done," said the prosecution.

The police also want to transfer the custody of the juvenile's father in the case so that a collective can be conducted and seize a register from the CMO's office in the hospital, the court was told.

Defence counsel Rishikesh Ganu, representing Dr Halnor, said the case doesn't attract sections 201, 120 B and others. He opposed the police remand application of the prosecution, saying all these sections are bailable.

"There is no need for police custody as police have already seized CCTV camera footage and phones. Custodial interrogation is not needed," he told the court.

Advocate Sudhir Shah, who represented Dr Taware, also argued that sections 201, 212, and 213 of the IPC are bailable offences.

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