Dilip Kumar

Balasore: Police personnel who are supposed to stick to government rules and protect lives and properties of people have been touted as thieves.

Such bizarre allegations have been reported from the district headquarters hospital in Balasore.

Two police constables on-duty on the premises of the hospital allegedly lifted some mobile phones belonging to patients’ attendants from the medical wards on Saturday night when the patients and attendants were asleep.

The matter came to the fore after 40-50 people gheraoed the police outpost on the hospital campus, demanding strict action against the erring officials.

"A constable unplugged the mobile phone electric point during charging and took away in the absence of the owners. We usually move to police when theft occurs. If police themselves do such illegal acts, what should we do? asked Anup Kumar Das, a patient's attendant.

He alleged that no security guards were on duty last night and it has become a regular affair. Even no CCTV cameras are installed inside the wards to keep a watch any such wrongdoings, he added.

Some attendants alleged that the un-lawful activity of the police personnel posed obstacle for them in shifting their serious patients to Cuttack.

"Doctors referred my baby to Sishu Bhawan in Cuttack at around 3 am. When I searched my mobile phone, it was not there. I could not shift my serious patient to Cuttack in time," Gitanjali Biswal, mother of one of the patients said.

This is not lone incident which took place last night. As per locals, many such incidents had been reported from the hospital in the past.

On the other hand, one of the constables has admitted the fact but rubbished the alleged ill intention of on-duty officials. He said that police personnel resorted to such activity in a bid to make aware patients' attendants.

"They (patients' attendants) fall asleep by keeping their mobile phones besides the bed carelessly. In a bid to make them aware, we took away four mobile phones. We had also alerted some fellow attendants to inform them to collect their phones from the outpost", Narashankar Mohapatra, a constable of the police outpost said.

Patients' relatives sought to know that who has directed the constables to adopt such ideas to create awareness. Balasore city DSP has, however, clarified that no such directive has been issued to any of the staff.

On the other hand, Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr Dulal Sen Jagdev said that he will launch an investigation into the incident and take action accordingly.

Similarly, Union Minister and Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi demanded immediate ouster of the erring officials and security guards from the service. He also assured the irate people to discuss with the Collector for installation of CCTV cameras on the hospital premises.