PGI ambulance scam: Chandigarh court declares gang kingpin as proclaimed offender

Two gangs were active in PGI and fleeced kin of deceased to take bodies from the hospital; 7 from PGI mortuary and Satinder Singh Satti, alleged kingpin of one gang, have been arrested

punjab Updated: Dec 18, 2017 13:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
gang kingpin,ambulance racket,mortuary
In absence of any board with information about the PGI’s ambulance service, attendants of the patient would hire illegal ambulances.(HT File/Reresentative image)

The Chandigarh district courts declared the kingpin ofPost Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) ambulance scam as proclaimed offender (PO) as he is absconding.

Fauji was declared PO after the policestated in the court that they have made all efforts to nab him but he is yet to be traced. Police stated they have raided areas in Ludhiana and Saharanpur and hisposters were put up in public places as well. It is believed that Fauji had participated in the election campaigning of some politicians in Punjab.

It was stated that kingpins were given Rs 5,000 per month by taxi unions, which had tied up with him for providing him ambulances for transporting bodies

The organised ambulance racket where the gang members forcefully charged hefty prices from the kin of patients of the deceased was busted in May 2016.

In the absence of any board with information about the PGI’s ambulance service, attendants of the patient would hire illegal ambulances that charged Rs 30 per km against the approved rate of Rs 9 per km. For service in the tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, the illegal ambulance gang charged Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 for a trip, while the right rate was Rs 300. If the dead body was to be taken within a distance of 100 km, the family of the deceased was told to pay Rs 4,000 instead of charges per km. PGI’s body packers and mortuary staff were paid anything between Rs 200 and Rs 500, while security guards were paid at the rate of Rs 1 per km.

There were two gangs active and the kingpin of one of the rackets, Satinder Singh alias Satti, resident of Mohali, was arrested. Also, seven persons — three security guards, three body packers and one staffer — of PGI mortuary were arrested. The arrested employees are Vinod Kumar (41), Sashi (34) and Gurkirpal Singh, aka Kala (40). Body packers were Ashwani (38), Tirathpal (34), and Ashwani Kumar (34), and the mortuary attendant Vicky (35).

It was also stated that kingpins, Fauji and Satti, were also given Rs 5,000 per month by the taxi unions, which had tied up with him for providing him ambulances for transporting bodies from the premier institute. The initial interrogation established that gang members were giving money to these seven people and security guards had been working with PGIMER for the past 16 years.

Following a set modus operandi, gang members used to park their illegal ambulances near the emergency ward, ATC and the mortuary. Lower staff involving private security guards, mortuary and sweepers appointed inside these three departments tipped off the drivers about arrival of critical patients and departure of bodies. The parking of vehicles, including private and government, nearby and outside the emergency and ATC is not allowed but the gang members were enjoying the facility at the behest of the employees of the private contractors.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 13:39 IST