Pune Porsche crash: 2 Sassoon Hospital docs suspended, dean sent on leave

State minister admits one of the doctors was appointed based on recommendation by NCP (Ajit Pawar) MLA Sunil Tingare

The Porsche after the accident (video screengrab)
The Porsche after the accident (video screengrab)


The Maharashtra government on Wednesday suspended two doctors of state-run Sassoon General Hospital and a member of staff, two days after they were arrested in connection with the alleged manipulation of blood samples of the minor driver involved in the Porsche car crash in Pune.

Separately, B.J. Medical College and Sassoon Civil Hospital dean Dr Vinayak Kale has been sent on compulsory leave and the additional charge handed over to Dr Chandrakant Mhaske.

The suspension of Dr Ajay Taware, professor and head of the department of forensic medicine and Dr Shrihari Halnor, medical officer, was ordered on the recommendation given by the Maharashtra medical education department commissioner.

"The state government has received a report from the three-member committee appointed to look into the allegations. Based on the committee's report, the medical education department has issued an order to suspend these two officials (doctors)", state medical education minister Hasan Mushrif told media.

Dr Chandrakant Mhaske is the incumbent dean at Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Government Medical College, Baramati, in Pune district.

Pune Police had arrested the two doctors and Atul Ghatkamble, a class IV employee of Sassoon Hospital, after it emerged that the blood samples of the juvenile driver were thrown into a dustbin and replaced with another person's samples which showed no traces of alcohol. The trio was remanded in police custody until 30 May.

According to police, the underage driver was drunk at the time of the accident, which resulted in the deaths of two IT professionals in the early hours of 19 May in Kalyani Nagar area of Pune city.

Meanwhile, Mushrif, who belongs to the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP (Nationalist Congress Party), admitted that Taware's appointment was made based on a letter submitted by party MLA Sunil Tingare.

Asked whether he was aware of past allegations against Taware, the minister said, "I do not possess any divine powers which will help me know everything about each person in my department and their deeds. He (the MLA) had recommended Dr Taware's appointment, and I approved it.

"When the recommendation was made, the dean should have pointed out the reputation of this person. I was abroad till 24 May, and I learned about the whole incident on 26 May."

He said changing the blood samples is a very major and disappointing thing. "Courts completely rely on the results of the blood test and postmortem reports. I had given directives to officials to teach the perpetrators a lifetime lesson. Thus, we have taken the (suspension) decision today," the minister said.

On the role of the hospital employee, a government order stated that "the inquiry has found that Ghatkamble changed the blood samples of the juvenile on the night of May 19 and gave it in a sealed envelope. He has been remanded in police custody till May 30. As he would be staying in custody for more than 48 hours, Ghatkamble is suspended from duty.

Amid outrage over the car crash, Police had arrested the father and grandfather of the underage driver for allegedly trying to stall the probe. The grandfather had allegedly tried to wrongfully confine the family driver in their bungalow from 19 to 20 May, and pressured him to take the blame for the accident.

The prosecution had told a local court that financial transactions had taken place in the alleged replacement of the original blood sample of the juvenile driver with another person's sample by the two doctors.

The juvenile's father had called one of the doctors and asked him to change the samples, the prosecution said, adding that police wanted to investigate who else had given the instructions to manipulate the samples. The juvenile was sent to remand home until 5 June.

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