Pune Porsche accident: Two doctors arrested for drink-drive cover-up | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

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

ByNadeem Inamdar, Pune
May 28, 2024 01:16 AM IST

Pune doctors arrested for evidence tampering in case involving minor in fatal accident. Investigation reveals manipulation of blood samples.

The Pune crime branch on Monday arrested three people, including the doctor who heads the Sassoon General Hospital’s forensics department and a doctor in its casualty medical department, for allegedly destroying evidence and switching the blood sample of the 17-year old son of a real estate developer who is in custody for causing the deaths of two techies by crashing his Porsche into their motorcycle, while presumably drunk.

Doctors from the Sassoon General Hospital’s being taken into custody. (Mahendra Kolhe/HT Photo)
Doctors from the Sassoon General Hospital’s being taken into custody. (Mahendra Kolhe/HT Photo)

Police believe the minor’s father, who has also been booked, was in touch with the head of the forensics department, adding another twist to a case that involves an unregistered car, an unlicensed minor driver, a bar and a club that served liquor to minors, and an alleged attempt by the grandfather of the minor to get the family driver to take the blame for the accident.

The arrests of Dr Ajay Taware, head of forensics department at Sassoon General Hospital (SGH), Dr Srihari Halnor, casualty medical officer, and Atul Ghatkamble, the assistant at the hospital’s mortuary, who worked under Dr Taware, come after the Pune crime branch took over the investigation of the case on Friday.

According to commissioner of police, Amitesh Kumar, acting on Dr Taware’s instructions, Dr Halnor threw the accused’s blood sample in a dustbin, and replaced it with a sample taken from an unidentified person to manipulate the outcome of the test. In the evening, after they were produced in a Pune court, Taware, Halnor and Ghatkamble were remanded to police custody till May 30, with the prosecution seeking custodial interrogation to ascertain if there are more people involved in the case.

“Police are trying to investigate whose blood sample was replaced with that of the juvenile. We have already seized CCTV footage and the DVR from Sassoon hospital,” said Kumar.

Their crime was discovered because the police had taken two blood samples of the accused – one was sent to Sassoon and the other at Aundh hospital. Results of the second blood sample and DNA profiling of juvenile with his father gave away the fact that the first was replaced.

Further investigation revealed that the juvenile’s father, a prominent builder in Pune, was in touch with Dr Taware. “We have technical evidence showing that father was in touch with the doctor,” said Kumar.

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

Deputy commissioner of police (Crime) Amol Zende said, “The accused were arrested on Monday morning by the crime branch team under Indian Penal Code sections 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 201 (punishment for destroying evidence), 214 (gratification for concealing an offence) and 467 (forgery).”

JJ dean to lead probe into Sassoon docs

The state medical education department has appointed the dean of Sir JJ Group of Hospital, Dr Pallavi Saple, to head the committee probing lapses by the doctors of Sassoon hospital, Pune.

The state has also asked Dr Gajanan Chavan, professor of forensics at JJ, and Dr Sudhir Choudhari, officer on special duty, at Government Medical College, Sambhajinagar, to join the committee. All three will visit Sassoon hospital on Tuesday and conduct an inquiry.

Pune Porsche car crash: What does the law say about a minor being tried as an adult?

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) on Monday took suo motu cognisance and sent a notice to Dr Holnor and Dr Taware. Dr Vinky Rughwani, administrator, MMC said, “We are setting up an inquiry committee. Based on their replies and our inquiry, if we find them guilty, action will be taken.”

Early on May 19, the minor, who was reportedly inebriated, was driving the Porsche sports car that knocked down two motorcycle-borne software engineers. The engineers, Aneesh Awadhiya (24) and Ashwini Koshta (24), were both killed. The case and the subsequent bail granted to the minor under provisions of the JJ Act drew sharp criticism and a flurry of protests. Under the bail conditions, the minor was required to work with Yerwada traffic police for 15 days and write an essay on the accident.

Pune Police then filed a review petition before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), asking that the boy be tried as an adult and requesting a review of the May 19 order. The boy’s father was arrested on Tuesday.

The JJB in Pune on Wednesday cancelled the 17-year-old boy’s bail and remanded him in 14 days’ custody, but stopped short of declaring its verdict on treating him as an adult in the crime, amid a firestorm of outrage.

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