An ambulance driver has been arrested by Bengaluru police for dropping off the body of a COVID-19 victim outside a crematorium as he was not paid for the journey by the deceased’s family. CK Baba, Deputy Commissioner of Police, North East Division in Bengaluru tweeted that the ambulance driver demanded Rs 18,000 as fees for transporting the body to the crematorium from the hospital and when he was not paid, he dropped off the body on the ground outside the crematorium and left. The driver has now been arrested and the two ambulances that he would drive have also been seized.
According to officials, the deceased person had died at Jayadeva Hospital at 9 pm on May 24, and the family booked a private ambulance to transport the deceased to the crematorium. The police say that the ambulance driver demanded Rs 18,000 as payment. It must be noted that fees for private ambulance services in Bengaluru have been capped at Rs 1,500 for the first 10 kms and Rs 120 for every additional kilometre, while government last rites services are free. As per this rule, the cost of the ambulance should not have been more than around Rs 16,000. However, the driver asked for Rs 18,000.
When the family refused to pay, the driver abandoned the body with the attendant on the road outside the Hebbal crematorium and left. Since the attendant standing with the body did not have the details of the ambulance and since it was in the middle of the night, officials say the attendant had to wait with the body on the road through the night. A visual of the incident shows a woman attendant, wearing a double mask, sitting cross legged next to the body that had been wrapped in white. The deceased was cremated only in the morning on May 25, officials say.
The FIR filed by the Bengaluru police names two accused and the main accused, the ambulance driver who has been identified as Sharath Gowda, has been arrested.
“Ambulance driver demanded Rs 18,000 to ferry the body to the crematorium from the hospital. Inhuman that he was,left the body outside the crematorium as money was not paid by the attendant.He is now behind bars. Report such barbaric acts for swift action#timetobehuman (sic),” the Deputy Commissioner of Police, North East Division in Bengaluru.
Ambulance driver demanded 18k to ferry body to crematorium from hospital.Inhuman that he was,left the body outside the crematorium as money was not paid by the attendant.He is now behind bars. Report such barbaric acts for swift action#timetobehuman @CPBlr @BlrCityPolice pic.twitter.com/b9mLL5QCuQ— C K Baba (@DCPNEBCP) May 28, 2021