South East Wales

Operation Jasmine: MP urges care home abuse law change

Dr Prana Das
Image caption Dr Prana Das was left brain damaged after a violent burglary at his home

An MP wants a change in the law after the collapse of the UK's biggest investigation into alleged abuse at old people's care homes in south Wales.

Operation Jasmine started in 2005 and cost £11.6m, but was put on hold after Dr Prana Das, the homes' owner, suffered brain damage in a burglary.

Charges against him have been left on file.

Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith hopes the UK government will back his proposal, which he said had cross-party support.

The decision was made to leave the charges on file after a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court in March.

In April, after a criminal trial, a man and a woman were jailed for 15 and 10 years respectively for assaulting and robbing Dr Das and his wife Nishebita, also a doctor, in their home in Newport.

The court was told that Dr Prana Das, 66, was hit about the head so violently that he will never practise medicine again.

He had faced charges relating to neglect and fraud at two care homes - Brithdir Care Home in New Tredegar, near Bargoed, and The Beeches in Blaenavon.

Gwent Police have already welcomed the decision that proceedings could restart if his condition improved.

'Important topic'

Mr Smith told the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales that when he raised the matter at Prime Minister's Questions, fellow MPs recognised there were many issues of "neglect of old people at care homes across the UK".

Image caption Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith says lessons need to be learned from the case

He will table a Ten Minute Rule Bill at Westminster later this week as a first legislative step.

"I think that this is an important topic," he said. "The families and the residents there want justice and I'm going to keep up the campaign to make sure that we have a public inquiry but also try and change the law.

"There's going to be a social care bill and I want to make sure that we can get an amendment put through to that to make sure that if there are issues of neglect they can prosecuted properly by the authorities".

Operation Jasmine spanned seven years, involved 75 police staff, and 4,126 statements were taken.

Mr Smith said: "Lots of people recognise it is an ongoing issue and a fight worth seeing through".

The MP has spoken about his shock at hearing details of the case and what had happened to 103 alleged victims, 63 of whom have since died.

Operation Jasmine was an inquiry funded by the Home Office into six care homes in south Wales.

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