Pune Porsche crash: No record of calls between Dr Taware and MLA Sunil Tingre, say police

A 2023 letter by Tingre recommending additional posting for Dr Taware had surfaced

Untitled design - 1 Sunil Tingre (Right) Two doctors of the Sassoon General Hospital being taken into police custody after their arrest for alleged manipulation of blood samples | PTI

The Pune Police has said that there was so far no proof of any links between NCP MLA Sunil Tingre and Dr Ajay Taware of the Sassoon government hospital in the Pune Porsche car accident case. This comes amid allegations that Tingre intervened to get the accused, a 17-year-old boy, off-hook after he allegedly fatally knocked down two IT professionals in Pune on May 19.

On speculations that Tingre rang Dr Taware, who is under police custody for switching the blood sample of the accused with another, a senior police official told ANI: "We have not found any call records between these two individuals during our investigation."

After allegations surfaced that he tried to sway the police in favour of the accused, the MLA reacted that though he had gone to the police station, he only urged them to act as per law. "I left there after giving instructions that strict legal action should be taken against the accused. Even the police officials will admit that I did not put any pressure on the police," he added.

However, he came under scanner again after a 2023 letter from Tingre to Maharashtra medical education minister Hasan Mushrif requesting Dr Taware be given the additional charge of medical superintendent surfaced.

In the letter dated December 26, 2023, Tingre said he knew Dr Taware who had worked as superintendent and discharged his duties well during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I request you to kindly consider giving the additional charge of medical superintendent to Taware," the letter stated.

The letter also had a handwritten note from Mushrif, directing the Sassoon Hospital's dean to give the additional charge to Dr Taware. To this, Tinger clarified that as he is an MLA, many people approach him for recommendation letters, and such letters issued by him always include a note that action should be taken according to the rules.

Meanwhile, the probe is currently focused on details surrounding the blood sample swap and tracing the financial transactions involved. "We are trying to determine with whom the blood samples were swapped and how much money Dr Taware received or was promised by the minor’s father,” the official added. So far, authorities have recovered ₹3 lakh, with ₹2.5 lakh from chief medical officer Dr Shrihari Halnor and ₹50,000 from staff member Atul Ghatkamble.

Both Halnor and Ghatkamble are in police custody for manipulating the samples. All three are accused of throwing away the minor's blood sample taken after the accident and replacing them with the samples of another person's blood which had no traces of alcohol.

According to the police, it was Dr Taware's idea to swap the juvenile's blood sample. He came up with the idea after the accused's father, realtor Vishal Agarwal, approached him after the accident. Police said the duo were constantly in touch after the accident, and it was the government doctor who first thought that the blood samples could be swapped.

Following the accident, more than a dozen calls were exchanged between Dr Taware and Vishal Agarwal, PTI quoted a senior police official. "It was unthinkable for everyone else that blood samples could be changed. It was Taware's idea. Their (Agarwal and Taware) attitude was that money can buy anything," the official said, adding that the officials would invoke the Prevention of Corruption Act against the accused doctors.

A 3-member committee conducting an inquiry into the alleged manipulation of the blood samples visited the Sassoon hospital and also met police officials who are probing the case. "We will examine the sequence of events after the accident. The probe will be conducted as per the rules, and a report will be submitted to the government," said Dr Pallavi Sapale, dean of the Grant Medical College and J J group of hospitals who is heading the panel.

Sources said the committee members visited the casualty department and also understood the process of blood sample collection, its preservation and dispatch to the forensic science laboratory.


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