Updated: May 28, 2021 8:36:22 pm
An ambulance driver in Bengaluru was arrested by the police for allegedly abandoning the body of a Covid-19 victim outside a crematorium on the outskirts of the city as the deceased’s family did not give in to the “exorbitant charge” sought by the former for his service.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast) C K Baba, the accused sought Rs 18,000 as the fee for transporting the body from Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research in Jayanagar 9th Block to Chira Shanti Dham Electric Crematorium in Hebbal. The DCP also identified the accused as Sharath Gowda, who has been sent to judicial custody.
“Such inhumane acts shall not be accepted. While he (the accused) has tried to get an exorbitant charge from the family of the deceased, his action of leaving the body and the attendant outside the crematorium shows his callous attitude. An FIR was been filed based on a complaint filed by the deceased’s kin at the Amrutahalli police station,” Baba told Indianexpress.com.
The DCP noted that the cost should not have exceeded Rs 2,000 as the distance between the two points was not more than 30 kilometres. Based on this, the case has been charged under relevant sections of the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), he added.
Earlier this month, the Karnataka government had officially notified a cap in rates allowed to be charged for ambulance services in the state. As per an official order issued by the Transport Department, patient transport ambulances can charge Rs 1,500 upto 10 kilometers and Rs 12 for each subsequent kilometer, with a waiting charge of Rs 200 per hour.
For ambulances with basic life support (BLS) facilities, the maximum charge is fixed at Rs 2,000 upto 10 kilometers while Rs 12 can be charged for every kilometer thereafter. The waiting charge for BLS ambulance is fixed at Rs 250 per hour. “The maximum rates include oxygen, ambulance equipment, PPE kit, gloves, mask, shield, sanitisation, driver, and emergency medical technician,” the order had mentioned.
Baba also urged people to report such incidents to the nearest police station and not to give in to such demands based on the situation.
Meanwhile, an officer at Amrutahalli police station added that the investigation was underway to apprehend more people linked to the particular incident and other similar issues. “We have been directed to take strict legal action based on such complaints,” an officer added.
In a similar incident that took place in the city on April 20, a couple of people, identified as Hamumantappa Singri (owner of Jai Hanuman Ambulance) and his associate Harish were nabbed by the police for demanded Rs 60,000 from a woman to take her father’s body to a crematorium.
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