Police and health officials on Wednesday continued raiding hospitals and pathology labs across Uttar Pradesh, four days after the arrest of six men in Lucknow in connection with a racket in adulterated blood.
Police have imposed the Gangster Act against all the six people who were arrested from a hideout in Thakurganj area here Saturday with nearly 100 units of blood in their possession. Raids are on to arrest other members of the gang.
"Currently, they are lodged in the district jail for 14 days. We will soon take them on remand for further interrogation," Additional Superintendent of Police Vinay Chandra told IANS.
The gang used to buy blood from professional donors like drug addicts, rickshaw pullers and beggars and would mix it with saline water to make three units from one unit of blood, police said. This was sold at Rs.1,000-1,500 per unit.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the state has suspended the drug inspectors of Lucknow and Mau.
“The raids began Tuesday evening across the state and are still in progress. Besides drug inspectors and other experts of our department, a police team is also assisting them in the inspection,” Lalit Verma, commissioner, FDA told IANS.
Nearly a dozen hospitals and pathology labs have been inspected in Lucknow itself where it is suspected that the accused used to supply adulterated blood. Other districts where raids have been conducted are Agra, Kanpur and Mau.
Initial investigations into the adulterated blood trading racket in Lucknow have revealed the involvement of many hospitals and blood banks, police said.
According to police sources, the pathology lab located in the Sarojininagar area in Lucknow is owned by U.B. Singh, a practicing pathologist in the state government's Balrampur Hospital.
Fresh raids in Lucknow were conducted at many hospitals, including Era Medical College, and the renowned Kohil Pathology and Blood Bank that has two branches in the city. Although the result of investigations at these two places is yet to be revealed, similar anomalies are expected to surface.
A couple of years ago, the Aliganj police raided Kohli Pathology lab and arrested over two dozen professional blood donors, of whom most were drug addicts and rickshaw pullers. The lab was sealed and remained closed for over a year.
Besides the Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU), the names of some high profile private hospitals have also come to light for their alleged involvement in the blood racket.
"Besides blood, we also recovered pouches of plasma from their hideout where they collected blood. It is impossible for an untrained person to extract plasma from blood and the involvement of some doctors and pathologists has also come to light," Chandra added.
"Earlier, they used to buy empty blood bank wrappers from the CSMMU at a cost of Rs.100 per piece. A few months ago, they started getting the wrappers printed in a printing press in Basti district. Besides private hospitals, the name of some private blood banks have also come to light and more arrests are expected soon," Chandra said.
He said police had clues that some prominent private blood banks in Aliganj, Vikasnagar, Mahanagar areas of the capital and around the CSMMU campus were also involved in the racket.
The CSMMU vice-chancellor has admitted the racket has been going on for long.