Aranmula: A 19-year old woman COVID-19 patient was sexually assaulted by an ambulance driver while shifting her to first line treatment centre near Aranmula of Kerala's Pathanamthitta district on Saturday night.
Noufal, 29, who was the driver of Ambulance 108 was arrested on Sunday based on a complaint by the victim's mother to the hospital authorities and the police. The patient was assaulted en route the COVID care centre in Kozhencherry.
The driver assaulted the Panthalam native after parking the ambulance in a deserted area.
The patient informed the hospital authorities about the incident after reaching the hospital.
"We were informed by the hospital authorities after the victim told them about the incident and we took him into custody. We will take the statement of the girl later as she is not a position to explain her ordeal," the investigating officer said.
After the crime, the accused requested the victim to forgive him. The woman recorded the apology on her phone.
"This is a vital evidence in the case," SP KG Simon said.
Noufal, who hails from Kayamkulam, is an accused in a murder case, he added.
Noufal has been dismissed from service, the Kanivu 108 Ambulance Services said in a release.
The girl was admitted to a hospital at Adoor on Saturday after she and her mother tested positive for coronavirus. later when she was being shifted to the First Line Treatment Centre (CFLTC) later, the Noufal sexually abused her.
She was taken to the treatment centre in Kozhencherry on the same ambulance. When they arrived at the centre, the girl reportedly ran inside screaming.
By that time, Noufal fled the scene with the vehicle but was nabbed by the cops from the road.
"Stringent action will be taken against the offender," Health Minister K K Shailaja said.
The police and health department are investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, the State Women's Commission registered a case on its own into the incident.
The Commission Chairperson M C Josephine they have offered all help to the woman.
"This issue shows that women patients need separate security measures. Besides taking strict action against the culprit, his driving license must also be cancelled. Strict background checks should be done before appointing drivers for ambulances," she said in a press release.