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Pune Porsche Case: Two Doctors Arrested for Changing Minor’s Blood Samples

Pune Porsche Case: Two Doctors Arrested for Changing Minor’s Blood Samples

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NEW DELHI, May 27: In yet another twist as how the rich builder family had tried to misdirect the investigation into the Pune Porsche horror of the 17-year old drunk driver ending the lives of two budding software engineers in their twenties, two doctors and a peon have been arrested for allegedly manipulating the blood test report of the driver boy.

The Pune police on Monday claimed the blood samples of the 17-year-old boy allegedly involved in the car crash were thrown into a dustbin and replaced with another person’s samples on the directions of a doctor from the Sassoon General Hospital. The juvenile’s father had called the doctor and offered him allurements to replace the blood samples, Pune Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar claimed at a press conference.

Mr Kumar said Dr Ajay Tawade and Dr Srihari Harnor of Sassoon Hospital have been arrested by the Pune Crime Branch, which is investigating the case that has sparked nationwide outrage. He told the media that samples collected at the hospital and sent for forensic tests were not of the juvenile accused at all. “This means the sample was replaced.”

“Around 11 am on May 19, a blood sample (of the teen) that was taken at Sassoon Hospital was thrown in a dustbin and the blood sample of another person was taken and sent to the forensic lab. CMO Srihari Harnor replaced this blood sample. During the investigation, we found Srihari Harnor replaced this on the instructions of Ajay Tawade, HOD of forensic medicine department at Sassoon Hospital,” Mr Kumar said.

“The investigation also revealed that it was the juvenile’s father who had called Dr Ajay Tawade and offered him allurements to replace the blood samples,” Mr Kumar claimed. The senior police official further said as an abundant precaution, they had taken one more sample of the juvenile for DNA sampling and it was sent to another hospital. “The report of the other hospital revealed the juvenile’s blood report at the Sassoon Hospital was manipulated as the DNA of (blood samples of) both the reports did not match,” he said.

Both the doctors did not have any idea that the police would take one more sample (of the accused juvenile), he said. “A probe is underway on whose blood samples were collected to replace with that of the juvenile’s. We have recovered CCTV footages of the Sassoon Hospital and further probe is on,” Mr Kumar said. He also said Indian Penal sections 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and other relevant sections have been added to the case in which the juvenile has been booked.

The phones of both doctors have been seized. Investigation has revealed Dr Tawade and the teen accused’s father spoke over the phone on the day of the accident, Mr Kumar told the media. Earlier, reports had claimed that the Pune teen, who is now at an observation home, had tested negative for alcohol. However, CCTV footage from one of the bars he visited that night showed him drinking with friends.

The Pune Police Commissioner had earlier said, “This case is not about an accident in which a mistake happened under the influence of alcohol and people died. Our case is that he had full knowledge that his conduct… he parties in two bars, rashly drives a car without a number plate on a narrow, congested street. He was fully in his senses, and he knew that people may die because of his actions.” The city police chief also said two samples of the teen accused’s blood were tested at different times after the accident to ensure accurate results.

According to police sources, the first blood sample had no alcohol, but the second did. This raised suspicions and a DNA test was conducted. The DNA test revealed the samples were from different people, meaning that the minor’s blood sample was switched with that of another person to ensure that his report did not mention alcohol.

The teen belongs to a prominent realtor’s family and it is alleged that his father and grandfather tried to influence the legal process to shield him. The teen’s father has been arrested under charges of the Juvenile Justice Act. His grandfather has also been arrested after the family’s driver alleged that he was confined at the family’s home, threatened and asked to take the blame for the accident. The other arrests in the case include staff of the two bars the teen visited that night. The doctors’ arrest and allegations of manipulation of blood samples further strengthens the charge that the family blatantly used money and influence to protect the teen.

Two engineers — Ashwini Kostha and Anish Awadhiya — were on the bike when the Porsche hit their bike from behind. They died on the spot. The boy was granted bail within 15 hours of the accident on conditions seen as flimsy. He was asked to write a 300-word essay on road accidents, told to work with traffic cops for 15 days and seek counselling for his drinking habit.

Amid nationwide outrage, the Juvenile Justice Board later modified the order and sent him to the observation home. The police have urged the board for permission to try the teen accused — aged 17 years and eight months — as an adult. The matter is currently being examined. The families of the two engineers have said this was “murder, not accident” and sought stringent punishment for the accused.

(Manas Dasgupta)



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