Bengaluru, May 29 : An MLA of the ruling BJP in Karnataka, L.A. Ravi Subramanya, has courted controversy after a telephonic conversation between a social activist and hospital staff went viral, in which the MLAs name figures more than once, allegedly asking for a commission of Rs 900 to administer Covid vaccine to people.
Subramanya is the uncle of BJP MP from Bengaluru South, Tejasvi Surya. His Assembly constituency Basavanagudi is part of the parliamentary constituency represented by Surya.
In the purported audio clip that has now gone viral on social media, the hospital staff could be heard telling social activist Venkatesh that the vaccine cost of Rs 900 has to be remitted to Subramanaya’s office and only after that inoculation will be done at the AV Hospital.
In the purported conversation, the staff member claiming to be working at the AV hospital is asked why the vaccine costs so much. To which, the hospital staff curtly says that those who want free vaccines can go the vaccine centres run by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). The staff member does not revert when she is told that vaccines are not available there.
The AV Hospital is located in the Hosakerehalli area in Bengaluru.
While Venkatesh has claimed that he had lodged a complaint against Subramanya, it is still not clear in which police station the complaint was filed.
Reacting to the controversy, Subramanya flatly denied all the allegations.
“This audio clip is the handiwork of ‘miscreants’ who did it with an intent to malign my name. I visited the AV Multispeciality Hospital at Hosakerehalli, which was highlighted in the audio clip, to meet those who intentionally supported these charges,” he argued.
The MLA asserted that it is a shame that miscreants have indulged in such a smear campaign, and that too when the entire world is working towards a common good to help each other during the pandemic.
As the controversy erupted, the AV Hospital promptly issued a statement refuting any role of the MLA or any public representative in the entire vaccination drive being carried out by the hospital.
“It is clarified that the vaccination drive in the hospital is an independent activity of the hospital. The MLA has no connection with it. The vaccines are procured by the hospital and are administered to the people at government prescribed rates,” the statement said.
Earlier, Subramanya along with his nephew Surya had stormed into a BBMP war room and lashed out at the officials and workers for bringing disrepute to them on May 2, and billed it as the biggest expose of the bed blocking scam. Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy too had gone with them and slammed the control room staff.
Since then, Surya has been criticised for singling out 17 Muslims staff who worked in the 212-strong war room and insinuating that they were part of the bed booking scam.
Later, videos surfaced which showed Satish Reddy’s aides manhandling IAS officer V. Yashavantha for refusing to handover beds to the MLA.
This act was strongly condemned by the IAS association of the state, which demanded that those who attacked the IAS officer should be arrested.
Another controversy broke out when Reddy’s aide Babu was arrested by the police for his alleged involvement in the bed booking scam. The probe was ordered by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa minutes after Surya had held a press conference on the expose on May 2.