Cheat targets Covid patients’ families desperate for ICU beds

In at least one case, a victim lost both parents due to lack of ICU beds that the accused had promised.

Published: 30th April 2021 05:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th April 2021 12:41 PM   |  A+A-

Manish Sarkar

Manish Sarkar

Express News Service

BENGALURU: In a cruel case that should stand out as a reminder not to fall for unverified posts on social media, offering help in hospital admission, several families of Covid-19 patients have been allegedly cheated by a 31-year-old housing contractor who promised ICU beds against payments. He vanished after receiving the payments, leaving the families worse off.

In at least one case, a victim lost both parents due to lack of ICU beds that the accused had promised. Manish Sarkar, hailing from West Bengal and residing in Malleswaram, is alleged to have cheated at least 17 families who were desperately seeking ICU beds. Sarkar’s modus operandi was to circulate his contact number on social media groups, promising ICU beds in quick time for Covid-19 patients.

With his post being forwarded several times, may have fallen for his promises in a desperate bid to save their loved ones. He demanded Rs 27,000 as commission for each bed. After he was approached by Jayanagar resident Stephan Raj who was looking for an ICU bed for his Covid-19 positive and symptomatic parents, Sarkar allegedly forced him to pay up Rs 20,000 on April 23.

On not getting an ICU bed, Raj’s mother and father died over the following two days. After performing the late rites of his parents, an angry and frustrated Raj approached the police on Wednesday, seeking action against Sarkar. Based on the complaint, the Jayanagar police tracked down Sarkar to his rented house in Malleswaram and arrested him. Sarkar is reported to have confessed during interrogation that he wanted to make easy money and hence cheated the 17 families. He also admitted he had absolutely no contacts with any hospital.

Sarkar boasted about contacts

Manish Sarkar had simply boasted about his ‘connections’ with hospital managements to lure desperate victims. Sarkar has been booked for extortion and cheating. The police are also probing whether he had targeted many more too. The DCP (South), Harish Pandey, warned people not to fall for such claims. “The BBMP will not charge money and allotment of beds depends on the patient’s health parameters. If people come to know of such cheats, they should alert the local police and help prevent such crimes,” he said.



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