The opposition Congress on Thursday stepped up the attack on the ruling BJP in Karnataka and demanded the arrest of party MP Tejasvi Surya and a party MLA, alleging they were behind the scam involving blocking of hospital beds meant for COVID patients in the city.
Surya, the Bengaluru South BJP MP and Yuva Morcha president, Bommanahalli BJP MLA M Sathish Reddy and Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya on Tuesday made claims about the bed blocking scam in Bengaluru and doubted the involvement of a few Muslims, who were deployed at the COVID War Room of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
As the expose went live on Tuesday and Surya read out their names, Subramanya screamed at the BBMP officials, “Have you appointed these people for Madrassa or the Corporation (BBMP)?”
To this, Reddy was seen saying there was an intention behind hiring them and these people were behind it.
The Congress mounted the attack citing reports in a section of the media alleging Reddy’s involvement.
“It’s like pot calling the kettle black. The truth has come out now that the BJP leaders are behind the bed blocking scam,” the Congress tweeted.
“Arrest Satish Reddy, who has been operating the bed booking scam with the help of his supporters, and the young MP (Tejasvi Surya) who accompanied him, and carry out a detailed investigation,” the party added.
Satish Reddy was not available for comment.
Meanwhile, BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh slammed the Congress for attacking Surya.
“After @Tejasvi_Surya exposed the hospital bed booking scam of BBMP, all were silent for a while. Suddenly everyone started shouting realising that the names were from a single community. Their secularism was in danger. @INCKarnataka leaders are bankrupt both in thoughts & action,” the senior BJP leader said.
Meanwhile, the agency, which had hired these 17 Muslims said they were among the 214 people deployed at the War Room.
An executive of the firm told PTI, requesting anonymity, that caste and religion are not the consideration for them to hire people.
“We told them (Muslim employees) that till the time the police inquiry is on, they will not be placed at the war room but we have not fired them either. They will remain our employees till they are found involved in some wrongdoings,” the executive said.
In view of the rising COVID cases and fatalities in the state, the government ordered that private hospitals should also reserve 80 per cent of the beds for COVID patients.
However, many people complained that they were not getting beds without paying bribes and purchasing drugs at an exorbitant price in the black market.
The police have arrested seven people so far in connection with the alleged bed scam and 90 people for selling Remdesivir in black.
Karnataka is seeing a steep rise in COVID cases. There were over 50,000 infections and 346 deaths, a single-day high on Wednesday. There are about five lakh active cases in the city.