Much to the embarrassment of Karntaka's ruling BJP, a purported close aide of its Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy was arrested on Tuesday by the Bengaluru police's Central Crime Branch police in connection with the alleged bed scam - exposed by the ruling party members earlier this month with much fanfare.
On May 4, Bangaloe South MP Tejasvi Surya, accompanied by his uncle and Basavangudi MLA, L.S. Subramanya, Bommanahalli MLA Reddy and Chickpet MLA Uday Garudhachar stormed into Begaluru south Covid war room of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to flag the scam.
Surya, who had also read out a list of 17 Muslims working there and questioned their appointment, had alleged that hospitals in Bengaluru "blocked" beds in fake names to make money, at a time when Covid cases were rising in Karnataka. He claimed that officials of the BBMP "colluded" with private nursing homes and hospitals to block beds and allocate them for exorbitant fees.
The CCB police statement said that Babu, 34, a resident of Roopena Agrahara in Bommanhalli, was arrested on Monday evening after his role of blocking beds and selling them at higher price for Covid patients came to light.
A senior police officer, who did not want to be identified, said that the arrested is a personal assistant of Bommanahalli MLA Reddy.
Babu's role of blocking beds in BBMP hospital came to light when they examined the CCTV footage of the war rom and the statements given by the staff members, the police said.
The Karnataka government had ordered reserving 80 per cent of the beds in the private hospitals for Covid patients. The BBMP was assigned to allot beds for the Covid patients seeking treatment in private hospitals. However, due to the alarming rise in Covid cases, most of the beds were fully occupied even as the demand was growing manifold.
The CCB police has already arrested five people -- Nethravathi, Rohith, Venkat Subba Rao, Manjunath and Punith -- in connection with the case. The sleuths had conducted searches in the war room and obtained technical data. Doctors, who are in charge of each zone war room, had also been questioned.