Porsche case: NCP MLA Sunil Tingre’s role under Pune police scanner, CM Shinde breaks silence — 5 points

Porsche case: The Pune police are reportedly probing the role of NCP MLA Sunil Tingre for allegedly using his clout to alter the investigation. Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole demanded the resignation of the state's Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the incident.

Updated28 May 2024
The Porsche car involved in the accident was found without a number plate in Pune on May 21.
The Porsche car involved in the accident was found without a number plate in Pune on May 21. (PTI)

NCP MLA Sunil Tingre's recommendation for one of the arrested doctors in the Pune Porsche case came to light this week. Tingre reportedly wrote a letter to Maharashtra Medical Education Minister Hasan Mushrif in 2023 recommending that Dr Ajay Taware be given additional charge as medical superintendent.

The Pune police are now probing the role of Sunil Tingre, who allegedly used his clout to alter the investigation in the Porsche accident case, the Hindustan Times reported. 

Ajay Taware was among Sassoon hospital employees who were arrested by the police on Monday for allegedly "manipulating" the blood samples of the minor accused in the Porsche accident case.

Dr Ajay Taware, head of the state-run hospital's forensic medicine department, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Shrihari Halnor and staff member Atul Ghatkamble were arrested for allegedly throwing away the minor's blood samples, taken after the accident on May 19.

They allegedly replaced the sample with the samples of another person's blood which had no traces of alcohol. According to police, the 17-year-old accused had rammed his Porsche car into a motorbike on May 19 under the influence of alcohol. He reportedly visited two pubs before the incident that took place in Pune's Kalyani Nagar area.

Here's a look at latest development in the Pune Porsche accident case:

1. Recommendation letter from Tingre: In the letter dated December 26, 2023, MLA Tingre said he knew Dr Taware who had worked as superintendent and discharged his duties well during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I request you to kindly consider giving the additional charge of medical superintendent to Taware," news agency PTI reported while citing the letter. A handwritten note from Mushrif instructing the dean of the Sassoon hospital to grant Dr Taware the extra charge was also included in the letter.

Reacting to the letter, Tingre said many people approach him for recommendation letters as he's an MLA, and such letters issued by him always include a note that action should be taken according to the rules.

2. Tingre, under police scanner, reacts: A police officer said on Monday, “We have come across call records and WhatsApp messages to the doctors and that is being probed.”

When asked whether the lawmaker had contacted the Sassoon doctors during the investigation, Pune Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying, “Prima facie, it seems that the minor’s father was in contact with doctors in Sassoon. We are still investigating who else is behind the change in the minor's blood sample reports.”

Questions were also raised after it was reported that Tingre had visited the Yerawada police station after the May 19 accident. Police admitted that he visited the station but claimed it did not impact the probe.

Tingre later told the media that the minor’s father was his ex-employer and because he was a resident of the area he represented, he had visited the police station to check if the probe was being properly conducted. 

“I have known the builder (juvenile’s father) as he was my employer after I passed out from engineering college… However, at no point have I tried to influence the probe," the MLA was quoted as saying.

3. Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole alleged that the Sassoon hospital was a "five-star hotel for criminals." Patole also demanded the resignation of the state's Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The Congress leader said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) must investigate the car crash case as there seemed to be political interference to save the "rich accused." The juvenile was accompanied by an MLA's son in the car, he further claimed.

4. The Pune District Court remanded the father and the grandfather of the 17-year-old in police custody till May 31 in the case of 'kidnapping' of the family driver. Police said earlier that the father and grandfather of the accused put pressure on the family’s driver to take the blame for the accident by offering him money and threatening him. The duo were booked under the Indian Penal Code sections 365 (kidnapping) and 368 (wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement).

5. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said he has been in touch with the Pune police commissioner since day one. "I have said right from the beginning that, irrespective of how influential the person is, there should be no discrimination. No matter how rich or poor a person is, the law is equal for all and no one will be spared. I have ordered strict action," Shinde was quoted by NDTV as saying.

Shinde said this while answering a question on the alleged preferential treatment given to the 17-year-old accused.

(With inputs from agencies)

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