Pune Porsche Crash: 3-member govt panel to probe blood sample manipulation, crime branch recovers ₹3 lakh | 10 updates

Pune Porsche Crash: The Maharashtra government has formed a committee led by Dr Pallavi Sapale to investigate blood sample manipulation in the Porsche car crash case at Sassoon General Hospital. Two doctors and an employee of the hospital were arrested and remanded in police custody till May 30.

Livemint, Written By Jocelyn Fernandes
First Published28 May 2024
Pune police arrested Dr. Ajay Taware (left) and Dr Srihari Halnor of Sassoon General Hospital for alleged manipulation of blood samples and destruction of evidence in the case of a car accident involving a minor, in Pune on Monday.
Pune police arrested Dr. Ajay Taware (left) and Dr Srihari Halnor of Sassoon General Hospital for alleged manipulation of blood samples and destruction of evidence in the case of a car accident involving a minor, in Pune on Monday.(Hindustan Times)

Pune Porsche Crash: The Maharashtra government has established a three-member committee after the arrest of two doctors and an employee from Pune-based Sassoon General Hospital, according to a PTI report. The arrested are accused of manipulating the blood sample of the juvenile driver involved in the Pune Porsche car crash.

The 17-year-old accused driver killed two young, motorcycle-borne engineers while drunk driving on May 19. 

In an order issued on May 27 by Medical Education Commissioner Rajiv Nivatkar, Dr Pallavi Sapale, dean of Grant Medical College and JJ Group of Hospitals, has been appointed chairperson of the committee.

The committee includes Dr Gajanan Chavan, professor of the forensic medicine department at Grant Medical College, and Dr Sudhir Chowdhary, Special Duty Officer at Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar Government Medical College and Super Speciality Hospital.

Here's the top 10 developments in the case

  • Committee in Pune today: The Maharashtra government's three-member panel has been instructed to visit Pune today, May 28. Dr Vinayak Kale, Dean of Sassoon General Hospital, has been asked to cooperate with the committee during the investigation.
  • Three arrested for blood sample manipulation: Pune Police on Monday, May 27, arrested Dr Ajay Taware, head of the Forensic Medicine department at Sassoon Hospital; Dr Shrihari Halnor, the chief medical officer at the hospital; and Atul Ghatkamble, a staff member under Dr Taware for allegedly switching out the blood sample taken from the accused minor driver. They have been remanded in police custody until May 30.
  • 3 lakh given to accused medical staff recovered: The Pune Police’s Crime Branch on May 27 recovered 3 lakh, allegedly given to doctors to change the blood sample of the accused minor, as per a News18 report. Pune Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar said the juvenile’s blood sample was discarded and replaced with another person’s sample. In court, cops had emphasised the need to recover the money and determine whose blood sample was used to replace that of the accused, the report added.
  • Maharashtra Medical Council takes cognisance: The News18 reported, citing sources, that the quasi-judicial body Maharashtra Medical Council issued notices to both doctors accused of switching blood samples. Sources added that the council has given the accused doctors seven days to respond. They may also be required to appear in person if necessary. Importantly, if the Maharashtra Medical Council finds the two doctors guilty, it could suspend their medical licences for a period ranging from one day to a lifetime.
  • How the tampering was discovered: Discovery that the blood sample of the accused minor was swapped came after a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report found no alcohol in the minor’s initial blood sample, but a second sample showed a different result, News18 reported. This raised doubts about the first report's accuracy, after which DNA tests confirmed that the two samples were from different individuals. This led investigators to suspect the involvement of doctors at the government hospital in tampering with evidence.
  • Juvenile's father implicated in blood swap probe: During the court hearing, the prosecution claimed the juvenile’s father, Vishal Agarwal, a realtor, instructed the doctors to change the blood samples. Cops are investigating to determine who else was involved in the blood sample manipulation. 
  • Father sent to police custody: A Pune court granted police custody of Vishal Agarwal, currently in Yerwada Central Jail, for a separate case of kidnapping and wrongful confinement of his driver. 
  • Juvenile sent to observation home: The juvenile involved in the crash was initially granted bail but was later sent to an observation home until June 5 following a review. Additional charges under sections 201, 120-B, 467, 213, and 214 of the Indian Penal Code have been added against the juvenile in the crash case. 
  • Technical inspection of crashed car: On May 27, a Porsche team visited the Yerwada police station to perform a technical inspection of the luxury car involved in the crash.
  • Ajit Pawar blames parents: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has laid blame on the minor accused's parents for “ignoring” his behaviour, saying that this led to the drunk driving and consequent deaths. Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of Pune district, spoke to reporters on May 27. “The minor’s conduct in the Pune accident is highly irresponsible. It happened because the teenager’s parents ignored his behaviour. The son is in an observation home and his father and grandfather have been arrested,” he said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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