Bengaluru: The bed-for-bribe scam took another turn with a middleman linked to the personal assistant of a BJP MLA allegedly having played a major role in blocking beds. The man had accompanied Bengaluru South MP Surya Tejaswi during a raid on the BBMP South Zone war room.
According to sources, the middleman reportedly had free, unregulated access to the war room, and was involved in the bed-blocking scam that was ‘exposed’ by the MP. Police have not been able to arrest or question him as he is hospitalised for Covid-19.
“Many outsiders had unhindered access to the war room and the bed allocation system operators,” The Indian Express quoted sources. The scam was a bid to profit from the demand-supply mismatch in hospital beds and the lack of an organised system.
Apart from the middleman, the role of doctors, hospitals, Arogya Mitras and BBMP (civic body) officials is also being closely probed.
Following the ‘expose’ by Surya Tejaswi recently, the police arrested four people linked to the Covid South Zone war room.
Police have also collected CCTV footage of the war rooms to ascertain the presence of unauthorised persons.
“The pressure from MLAs, MPs, IAS, IPS and other officials for beds is immense,” said the head of medical services at a Covid hospital in the city.
Bengaluru continues to face a bed shortage, with over 20,000 daily cases being recorded for nearly two weeks.
Meanwhile, after MP’s ‘expose’ smacked of communal overtones as he read out names of 16 officials allegedly involved in the scam – all of them Muslims – a hashtag has been trending on Twitter, reminding the people that the city is for all.” Called NammooraEllaruNammavaru (everybody in the city ours), the hashtag campaign was started by an online group 'Bengaluru for Love' and picked up Twitter users.
"As we all continue to ask for more beds, oxygen, vaccines, medicines and food, let us also take a moment to repose our faith in our aspiration to make Bengaluru a city for all!" said a note of Bengaluru for Love. It asked users to shout out "we are together in this fight" and "we shall not allow a few politicians to divide us to cover up their own failures in managing this crisis."
The campaign appealed to the people to make a placard, video, poem or doodle or anything creative to spread the message.
Immediately many people joined in with their hashtags and messages. Among them is Congress MLA Sowmya Reddy, who posted a picture of her holding a placard that says, "Stay united, Fight Covid-19 together." Bengaluru has always “embraced people of all religions, caste, language, class, etc,” she wrote.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) national spokesperson also joined the campaign, putting out a map and a list of places in the city with a bit of history in his message. "Kempe Gowda, Bengaluru’s farsighted founder, created space/Petes for diverse communities. Nammooru's essence has always been cosmopolitan and inclusive. Today, we need to fight to strengthen this ethos. We will triumph. For @BlrForLove is who we truly are. #NammooraEllaruNammavaru," he tweeted.