Ten men have been arrested at three government hospitals in Kolkata on Wednesday and Thursday for allegedly cheating patients and their families by promising them admission in exchange for money.
Five men were arrested on Wednesday — three at the NRS Medical College and Hospital and two at SSKM Hospital. Two of the three held in the NRS compound were ambulance drivers, police said.
Raids were carried out at SSKM Hospital and the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital on Thursday following fresh complaints.
The police said they received a complaint from a resident of Sagore Dutta Lane, in central Kolkata, who had taken his mother to the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday.
According to the complaint, a few men approached the complainant and allegedly took Rs 16,000 from him to get his mother admitted.
“The complainant did not get any help from the men to get his mother hospitalised,” said an officer of Bowbazar police station, where the complaint was lodged.
Based on the complaint, four men — Sujit Mondal, Vicky Balmiki, Rahul Roy and Anil Pyne — were arrested on Thursday.
Another man, named Ajay Kumar, 35, was arrested in front of the rheumatic OPD of SSKM Hospital for his alleged involvement in the case in which the two men were rounded up from the SSKM compound on Wednesday.
Earlier, two cases were started by Entally and Bhowanipore police stations based on complaints lodged by the families of two patients who had allegedly been cheated.
Based on the complaints, officers of the anti-rowdy squad of the detective department conducted raids and arrested the five men on Wednesday.
The men who were arrested from the NRS premises are Prayag Shah, 52, Pankaj Pandey, 30, and Pabitra Mukherjee, 52. Mukherjee and Pandey were ambulance drivers, the police said.
The ones picked up from the SSKM compound were Uttam Das, 31, and Manoj Mallick, 31.
The police said the men used to charge anything between Rs 3,000 and Rs 35,000 from patients and their families by promising them a bed.
An officer at Lalbazar said none of the accused was a government employee. But all seem to have had good connections with Group D or contractual employees in the government hospitals.
As patients are treated for free at government hospitals, the rush for admission there is always very high. Often, it takes months to get a bed. So, many patients and their families, especially those from districts, fall prey to rackets that promise admission against payment.
“We keep advising people they should not pay anyone in government hospitals for beds or for getting an operation scheduled,” said an officer.