BJP MP Tejasvi Surya on Tuesday alleged that hospitals in the city 'blocked' beds in fake names to make money, at a time when COVID-19 cases were rising in the country and Karnataka.
At least 4,065 beds were 'blocked' in fake names by the hospitals to make a killing, the BJP Yuva Morcha president and Bengaluru South BJP MP alleged.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said he will take action 'mercilessly' against the hospitals, their management and government officials and will not spare anyone who is involved in it.
As COVID cases are rising, the Karnataka government has ordered private hospitals and nursing homes to reserve 80 per cent of beds for coronavirus patients.
However, according to Surya, government officials in Bengaluru colluded with private nursing homes and hospitals to block the beds and reserve it for exorbitant fees.
"When people are struggling to find a bed in the hospital and begging everyone including MPs and MLAs to give them one, there are hospitals who say that no beds are vacant," Surya told reporters.
According to him, those in the BBMP (city corporation) war room in Bengaluru get all the details about those testing positive such as whether they are asymptomatic or symptomatic.
If they are asymptomatic, they will be kept under home isolation but beds will be booked in different hospitals in their names, he alleged.
In one instance, beds were booked in 12 hospitals in the name of one patient, Surya said, adding, these beds are 'sold' to the needy at a much higher price.
"When families after families are getting wiped out for lack of proper treatment, these incidents are not just corruption. This is murder," Surya told reporters.
Taking serious note of the incident, the state government ordered a police investigation. Accordingly, a case has been registered.
Bengaluru city police Commissioner Kamal Pant tweeted on Tuesday that the matter has been handed over to the Central Crime Branch and two people have been arrested and others were being questioned.
"A case has been registered in Jayanagar Police Station for fraud and cheating allegedly committed in allotment of beds on BBMP portal for #COVID patients. Two accused have been arrested and others are being questioned for alleged fraud/irregularity in the allotment of beds in return for money from patients," he tweeted.
Replying to the Commissioner's tweet, the BJP MP wrote: "Thank you for the swift action. I sincerely hope the kingpins, senior officials, are held for their omissions and commissions."
"System won't reform if some small fry elements are held as is mostly done. Have lots of faith in you, Sir."
Much uproar has risen over this on social media. While some are thanking the MP for unearthing a scam, others are doubting the incident calling it a PR stunt. People have also pointed out that since BBMP comes works under the guidance and orders of the BJP-led government in Karnataka, is Surya accusing his own party of being incompetent?
Here's what the public reactions look like. Have a look.