Pune accident: MLA’s role under scanner for derailing Porsche investigation - Hindustan Times
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Pune accident: MLA’s role under scanner for derailing Porsche investigation

May 28, 2024 04:13 AM IST

It has now emerged that Sunil Tingre, the NCP (Ajit Pawar) MLA from Wadgaon Sheri, had been in touch with the doctors at Sassoon.

The Pune police are probing the role of a lawmaker from the Ajit Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party for allegedly using his clout to alter the investigation into the deaths of two techies who were hit by a speeding Porsche driven by the underage son of a prominent Pune builder on May 19.

Pune police are probing the role of NCP MLA Sunil Tingre for allegedly using his clout to alter the investigation in Porsche accident case. (HT)
Pune police are probing the role of NCP MLA Sunil Tingre for allegedly using his clout to alter the investigation in Porsche accident case. (HT)

On Monday, the police arrested Drs Ajay Taware, head of the forensic department of the city’s largest public hospital, Sassoon General Hospital, and Shrihari Halnor, the casualty medical officer, for manipulating the blood sample of the juvenile which would have ascertained whether he was drunk while driving the car. It’s the police’s case that the two senior doctors replaced the minor’s blood sample with that of another person who had not imbibed any alcohol, and which resulted in a negative result for the minor even though there is CCTV footage to show that he had indeed drank alcohol at two separate restaurants.

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It has now emerged that Sunil Tingre, the NCP (Ajit Pawar) MLA from Wadgaon Sheri, had been in touch with the doctors at Sassoon. He was also one of the first people to have reached the police station, at 4 am on the day of the accident. Tingre had later told media that the minor’s father was his ex-employer and because he was a resident of the area he represented, he had gone to check if the probe was being properly conducted. “I have known the builder (juvenile’s father) as he was my employer after I passed out from engineering college… However, at no point have I tried to influence the probe.”

Pune Porsche accident: Two doctors arrested for drink-drive cover-up

A senior police officer close to the investigation said on Monday, “We have come across call records and WhatsApp messages to the doctors and that is being probed.” When specifically asked whether the lawmaker had contacted the Sassoon doctors in the course of the investigation, Pune commissioner of police Amitesh Kumar said, “Prima facie it seems that the minor’s father was in contact with doctors in Sassoon. We are still investigation who else is behind the change in the blood sample reports of the minor.” He added the police was in the process of examining the CCTV footage from different locations concerning certain people who were under suspicion.

Dr Taware’s association with Tingre goes back a few years. In April 2022, Dr Taware, former medical superintendent of Sassoon General Hospital and head of the forensic medicine department at BJ Medical College (BJMC) had been asked by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) to step down from his post following alleged malpractices in the kidney transplant procedure. The regional organ transplant authorisation committee was also temporarily suspended after the DMER investigation. But on December 29, 2023, Dr Taware was again appointed as the medical superintendent of Sassoon after Sunil Tingre write a letter to medical education minister Hasan Mushrif, also from the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP, recommending Dr Taware’s reinstatement. A copy of this letter has been seen and verified by HT.

In his letter, dated December 26, 2023, to Hasan Mushrif, Tingre writes: “Dr Ajay Taware, known to me, is a professor and head of the forensic medicine department. He has handled the post of medical Superintendent and performed commendable duties during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, I request that appropriate action be taken at your level to appoint him as the medical superintendent of Sassoon Hospital.” Three days later, Dr Taware was reinstated.

Porsche crash cover-up: How Pune police caught blood sample foul play by teen's father

In April this year, however, the DMER once again removed Dr Taware from his position as medical superintendent after a 30-year-old man undergoing treatment at Sassoon’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for a fall, was bitten by a rat in the hospital which aggravated his condition.

“In the latest incident, Dr Halnor who was working as CMO at the hospital took the blood samples of the minor and as per the police, the blood samples were changed by Dr Halnor on the directions of Dr Taware,” said Hasan Mushrif, speaking to HT on the phone. “This is a serious issue and we will take strict action in this matter.”

Despite repeated efforts to reach him through calls and messages, Sunil Tingre remained unavailable for comment. His leader, Ajit Pawar, told the media in Mumbai that no one should impede investigations and that he himself had called the Pune commissioner to ask him to not buckle under any pressure.

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