Two months after the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch, probing the used hand gloves case, arrested the main accused, Dheeraj Rishikeshan (28), supervisor of waste management of the Kochi-based Amritha Institute of Medical Science and Research Centre, the hospital claimed that Mr. Rishikeshan was not an employee, but a devotee.

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The police had written to the hospital seeking details of employment of Mr. Rishikeshan and about others from the hospital who were associated with him.

“We had sent two letters. The hospital finally responded stating that Mr. Rishikeshan was not their employee but a devotee of ‘Amma’. The hospital said that they had no idea how he was disposing of the used gloves which he used to collect from the hospital,” assistant police inspector Rahul Rakh from the Crime Branch said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rishikeshan told the police that he was the waste management supervisor with the hospital. He also said that he was not aware that used gloves were being recycled, as he was made to believe by the other accused who took the gloves from him that they would be used for making rubber chappals.

On August 18, as per the information received by Mr. Rakh, the Crime Branch Unit I seized around four tonnes of used hand gloves at a unit in Gami Industrial Park, Pawane MIDC, Navi Mumabi, which were being washed and repacked for selling them further. As many as 263 sacks containing four lakh used hand gloves along with 17 packets which had hand gloves after wash and dry were found.

In the raid, Prashant Ashok Surve (38), a resident of Belapur, who ran the unit, was arrested. Mr. Surve led the police to Vipul Shah (52) from Malad, and Nazeem Khan (30), who ran a godown in Bhiwandi, from where 15 tonnes of used gloves worth ₹15 lakh were seized. Mr. Shah and Mr. Khan then helped the police arrest Imran Lateef Siddiqui in Bengaluru following which 10 tonnes of used gloves worth ₹10 lakh were seized from a godown.

Mr. Surve also led the police to Afroz Shaikh (36) from Malegaon who had a godown in Aurangabad from where 19 tonnes of used gloves worth ₹19 lakh were seized.

Mr. Shaikh took the police to Hyderabad from where the police got another lead to the Kochi hospital from where Mr. Rishikeshan was nabbed.

According to the police, investigations into the Bengaluru and Hyderabad links helped them uncover the Kochi hospital connection.



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