Arrested Sassoon doctor accused of manipulating gender report in marital dispute

Dr Ajay Taware
Dr Ajay Taware

Mumbai | A retired customs commissioner has alleged that Dr Ajay Taware, arrested in the Porsche crash case in Pune, had manipulated the gender test report of the former's daughter-in-law in a marital dispute five years ago.

Dr Taware, head of department of forensic medicine at Sassoon General Hospital, and two others were arrested earlier this week for allegedly swapping the blood samples of the minor accused of crashing a Porsche into a motorbike in Pune's Kalyani Nagar and killing two persons.

Talking to PTI on Thursday, the retired official claimed that the doctor had played a role in fudging the gender test report of his estranged daughter-in-law.

He filed a complaint against Taware and others with the Medical Council of India as well as the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra but no action was taken, he said.

The customs official's son got married in 2013, but his daughter-in-law refused to have sexual relations with her husband, he said.

When he checked her medical history and birth certificate at Aurangabad (now Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar), her birthplace, the official found that she was born a male in 1984. After ten years, the municipal corporation issued a new birth certificate mentioning her gender as female.

The daughter-in-law filed a case of dowry harassment against the family and the matter landed in a court in Andheri here.

In 2018, the court ordered a gender test of the woman. It was conducted at Sassoon Hospital in Pune, and a medical panel which included Dr Taware gave a report in February 2019 that she was "phenotypically and genotypically female", the official said.

The test should have been conducted in Aurangabad, not in Pune, and Dr Taware manipulated the report, he claimed.

"If the car crash case gets transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation, I will submit all the evidence against Dr Taware and others," the former commissioner said.

Notably, in 2022, the Maharashtra government had suspended the regional organ transplant authorization committee at Pune of which Dr Taware was a member, after a racket related to kidney transplant approvals came to light.

Dr Taware is currently in the custody of Pune police.

Porsche crash: Juvenile's blood samples were replaced with those of woman, Pune cops tell court

Pune | The blood samples of the 17-year-old involved in a crash of Porsche car in the city were replaced with those of a woman in a bid to show that he was not drunk at the time of the accident that claimed two lives, Pune police told a court here on Thursday.

The sessions court granted the police's plea and extended till June 5 the custody of two doctors and an employee of the Sassoon General Hospital arrested in this connection.

While the police told the court that they wanted to identify the woman whose blood was used as replacement, a government source told PTI that she was none other than the juvenile's mother.

Dr Ajay Taware, then head of the department of forensic medicine at Sassoon hospital, medical officer Dr Shrihari Halnor and employee Atul Ghatkamble, arrested after the alleged swapping of samples came to light, were produced before the court as their initial custody ended.

Seeking their further custody, police said Dr Halnor did not throw the syringe with which the juvenile's blood sample was drawn into the dustbin -- as believed earlier -- but handed it over to someone, and they wanted to find out who this person was.

A highly-placed source in the Maharashtra public health department, familiar with the probe, told PTI that the blood samples of the teenager's mother were used as a replacement in order to shield him.

According to police, the minor driver was drunk at the time of the incident which resulted in the death of two IT professionals in the early hours of May 19 in Kalyani Nagar area of Pune city.

"We want to investigate who is that person to whom Dr Halnor handed over the juvenile's blood samples," said assistant commissioner of police (crime) Sunil Tambe who is the investigating officer in the case.

"The FSL report showed that the blood sample (used as a replacement) was of a woman and we are looking for that woman and for that we need custody of these three accused," he told the court.

There were some financial transactions between the accused and some suspects, the ACP said, adding that more persons could be arrested if their role in the conspiracy was established.

So far, police has recovered Rs 2.5 lakh from Dr Halnor and Rs 50 lakh from Ghatkamble, Tambe said, adding that searches were needed to be conducted at Dr Taware's premises to probe his financial transactions. Taware had given Rs 3 lakh to Halnor and Ghatkamble for switching the blood samples, police had claimed earlier.

The public prosecutor in the case told the court that CCTV footage showed that besides Dr Halnor and Ghatkamble, some other people were present in the room when the minor's blood samples were collected at the Sassoon hospital.

Lawyers appearing for the three accused opposed further police remand, and said the prosecution had already seized several things such as call data records and CCTV footage, and it had sought custody on the same grounds at the first hearing.

Dr Taware was not present when blood samples were taken, said a defence lawyer.

After hearing the arguments, additional sessions judge P P Jadhav granted seven-day extension of the police custody.

While the 17-year-old minor allegedly involved in the accident has been sent to an observation home, his father, realtor Vishal Agarwal and grandfather Surendra Agarwal have been arrested for allegedly kidnapping the family's driver and putting pressure on him to take the blame.

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