Bengaluru: Ambulance driver abandons body as poor family can’t pay him Rs 18,000 | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Ambulance driver Sharath
BENGALURU: An ambulance driver left the body of a Covid-19 victim on a pavement outside the Hebbal crematorium after the bereaved family could not pay the excessive fee he had demanded. The 28-yearold driver, Sharath Gowda ME, was arrested on Friday, three days after the incident.
The deceased, Anuj Singh, was a daily-wage worker in his late 40s. Sharath allegedly demanded Rs 18,000 from Singh’s wife to shift the body from the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, Bannerghatta Road, to the Hebbal crematorium. She could arrange only Rs 3,000.
After Sharath, employed with a private ambulance service, allegedly abandoned the body and drove off, a passerby intervened. “The body lay on the pavement and the kin were too shocked to figure out what to do next. A passerby saw their ordeal and collected a token for cremation. Workers at the crematorium, in the meantime, alerted me about the incident. They, along with the deceased’s relatives, brought the body inside and the last rites were performed,” P Satish, the helpline incharge at the crematorium, told TOI. Satish filed a police complaint on Wednesday.
Sharath, a Peenya resident, has been booked under provisions of the Disaster Management Act and IPC sections 384 (extortion), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease) and 270 (malignant behaviour which is likely to transmit life-threatening disease). The police have also booked a Jayadeva staffer, Nagesh, who allegedly demanded money to keep the body in the hospital. He is yet to be traced.
Singh died around 9.10pm on May 24. His family wanted to keep the body at the hospital for a while, but Nagesh told them that the mortuary was full. He allegedly offered to find space if he was paid Rs 18,000. The family then decided to move the body to the Hebbal crematorium. As it didn’t know about BBMP’s free ambulance facility, it let Nagesh call a private service. A police officer, who has seen the footage of CCTV cameras at the hospital, said that Sharath arrived in the early hours of May 25.
The kin were initially asked to pay Rs 8,000. After Sharath placed the body inside the ambulance, he demanded Rs 18,000. Singh’s wife made calls to relatives, who rushed there with Rs 3,000. She said she would arrange the remaining sum at the crematorium.
Sharath stopped the ambulance a little distance from the crematorium and sought the full payment. “The woman and her relative pleaded with folded hands and promised to pay later, but Sharath refused to budge. He pulled the body out of the ambulance and put it on the pavement even as the patient’s wife and relatives broke down,” said an officer of the Amruthahalli police.