Rs 1.2 lakh for an ICU bed: 2 hospital staffers, Arogya Mitra held

The arrests came a day after BJP lawmakers claimed to have exposed a bed-blocking scam in the BBMP

These arrests are not related to the alleged scam. Credit: Getty Images

Two employees of a private hospital and an Arogya Mitra at another hospital were arrested on Wednesday for the black-marketing of hospital beds for Covid patients. 

The arrests came a day after BJP lawmakers claimed to have exposed a bed-blocking scam in the BBMP. But these arrests are not related to the alleged scam. 

Police said Venkata Subbarao, a cardiac technician, and Manjunath, a marketing executive, both working at People Tree Hospital, teamed up with Puneeth, an Arogya Mitra, to sell a bed at Ramaiah Hospital for Rs 1.2 lakh. 

Laxmidevamma, a Covid patient, was initially treated at a private hospital in Nelamangala. She was later referred to People Tree Hospital for further treatment but the facility didn’t have any vacant ICU bed. 

Read | Bed-blocking scam: Lokayukta takes up suo motu case

At this point in time, Subbarao and Manjunath approached the patient’s son Lakshmisha and offered an ICU bed at Ramaiah Hospital for Rs 1.2 lakh. They took the help of Puneeth, an Arogya Mitra at Ramaiah Hospital, said M N Anucheth, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central). 

An Arogya Mitra is a frontline healthcare worker who serves as a first contact for beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (the central government’s health insurance scheme) at empanelled hospitals. 

Lakshmisha paid the trio Rs 50,000 through Google Pay and another Rs 70,000 in cash after the bed was allotted. The patient, however, died within a few hours of hospitalisation. 

Lakshmisha’s brother Chethan dialled 112, Karnataka’s all-in-one emergency helpline, and reported the matter. Sadashivanagar
police, who have jurisdiction over Ramaiah Hospital, swung into action and arrested the trio.