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Know about the doctors allegedly tampered blood samples in Pune Porsche case

Two Sassoon General Hospital doctors arrested for tampering with evidence in a hit-and-run case. Dr. Ajay Taware, head of Forensic Medicine, and Dr. Srihari Halnor, chief medical officer, implicated. Legal action initiated. Investigation ongoing.

By Ground report
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Who are Dr Shrihari Halnor and Ajay Tawade arrested for tampering blood samples in Pune Porsche case

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The Pune Crime Branch arrested two Sassoon General Hospital doctors for tampering with crucial evidence in the Kalyani Nagar hit-and-run case, which caused two deaths. According to a report in NDTV citing sources, the peon, Atul Ghatkamble, reportedly acted as a middleman, collecting a ₹3 lakh bribe from the teen's family intended for the two doctors.

The arrested individuals are Dr. Ajay Taware (38), the Head of the Department of Forensic and Toxicology at Sassoon Hospital, Dr. Srihari Halnor (35), the Chief Medical Officer on the incident day, and Atul Namdev Ghatakamble (30), a hospital employee.

The arrests came after an investigative report by Pune Times Mirror, prompting scrutiny of the forensic department's involvement. Police Amitesh Kumar, the arrests were made following revelations that the blood sample of the minor accused, crucial for examination, was discarded at the hospital, and an incorrect blood sample was allegedly sent for testing.

"We have served notices to Dr. Taware and Dr. Halnor today and have taken suo motu cognizance of the issue. There will be a thorough investigation and inquiry, and based on the reports, we will decide on termination and license cancellation," said Dr. Vinky Rughwani, president of the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), which has also initiated action against the doctors for alleged negligence and corruption.

The Police Commissioner stated that investigations are ongoing to determine whether a fresh sample from the other person was taken or if it was taken from existing stock.

He added that the two doctors and the hospital staff member have been charged under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 467 (forgery), 201 (destruction of evidence), 213 (taking a gift or something else to screen an offender from punishment), and 214 (offering a gift or restoration of property to screen an offender).

Who is Dr. Ajay Taware?

Dr. Ajay Taware, a professor and the head of the forensic medicine department at BJ Government Medical College, has been at the center of controversy over his role in the Porsche car crash case and previous incidents at Maharashtra's largest government-run hospital.

In April, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) removed Dr. Taware from the post of medical superintendent over a rat-bite incident at the hospital. He had been instructed to step down in 2022 following alleged malpractice in a kidney transplant procedure.

The authorities took a stern view of the alleged malpractice in the kidney transplant case. A woman from Kolhapur claimed she was promised Rs 15 lakh by an agent for donating her kidney to a patient at Ruby Hall Clinic.

According to the report, Dr. Taware indicated that the minor's blood samples were substituted with those of another doctor to eliminate traces of alcohol. "The juvenile's father called the doctor and offered allurements to replace the blood samples," the police reported. During the investigation, Dr. Taware stated, "I will not keep quiet. I will take everyone's name," hinting at further revelations.

Who is Dr. Srihari Halnor?

Dr. Srihari Halnor, a general practitioner and the chief medical officer at Sassoon General Hospital during the Kalyani Nagar incident, studies infection risk management. After a course in New Zealand, he plans to rejoin the Indian healthcare system.

The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report showed no alcohol in the first blood sample, raising suspicions. A second blood test conducted at a different hospital and DNA tests confirmed that the samples were from two different individuals. This led investigators to suspect that the doctors at Sassoon General Hospital had tampered with evidence to protect the accused juvenile.

In response, the Maharashtra government established a three-member panel to visit Sassoon General Hospital on Tuesday regarding the case. Medical Education Commissioner Rajiv Nivatkar announced the formation of the panel and directed Dr. Vinayak Kale, Dean of Sassoon General Hospital, to cooperate fully with the committee's investigation.

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