A single-member commission under retired judge Anita Jha was constituted on Friday to probe the botched sterilisation surgeries at Bilaspur's government-run medical camps that have so far claimed lives of 13 women and left nearly 138 ill.
As Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh came under attack over the deaths and allegations of spurious drugs being given, the director of a drug company, which allegedly supplied sub-standard medicines that were administered to the victims, and his son were arrested in state capital Raipur.
"A single-member probe commission has been constituted and retd. District and sessions Judge Anita Jha has been entrusted with the responsibility of investigating the case of sterilisation surgeries at Sankri (Pendari), Gaurela, Pendra and Marwahi areas of Bilaspur district, where 13 women died and several fell critically ill after undergoing surgery," a government statement said.
The commission has been asked to submit its report to the state government within three months, it said.
CM Singh had on Thursday announced an unbiased and transparent judicial probe into the incidents following which, the General Administration Department issued a notification last evening regarding formation of the panel.
The CM, meanwhile, rejected the Congress' demand for his resignation. "Will by resignation resolve this issue. This is no option. Congress is only trying to politicise the issue," he said.
While 83 women were operated upon at Nemichand Jain Cancer and Research Centre at Pendari village of Takhatpur block on November 8, around 56 women underwent surgeries at three different camps in Pendra block on November 10.
The commission will investigate the case on number of points, including if standard protocol was followed at these camps, circumstances that led to the incident, whether medicines used at the camps were of standard quality, who are those accountable for this incident, measures that can be taken to avoid recurrence of such incidents and others, the statement added.
Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd's director Ramesh Mahwar and his son Sumit have been arrested under section 420 for cheating, based on a complaint lodged by Food and Drug Administration authorities, Raipur SP OP Pal told PTI.
The FDA had on Thursdsay sealed a manufacturing unit of the company which supplied an antibiotic drug used at sterilisation camps in Bilaspur district.
During the raid, a significant quantity of drugs were found burnt at the premises of Mahawar Pharma, official sources in the drugs control department had said.
After preliminary examination of the samples of the medicines collected from the pharmaceutical unit, drug inspector Tripti Jain lodged a case against the promoters following which the action was taken.
The department had on Thursday evening also raided a unit of another pharmaceuticals company in Bilaspur, which too had allegedly supplied some medicines to the sterilisation camps in the district, and collected drug samples from there for testing.
The state government has suspended sale of six drugs used in tubectomy surgeries at these sterilisation camps.
Putting the onus for the botch up on officers, the CM said they did not follow the guidelines issued by the state. "We will not spare anyone," he said.
"Surgeries were conducted in unhygienic condiditons," he said, adding, "We are probing whether drugs given were spurious."
Laparoscopic surgeon Dr RK Gupta of Bilaspur district hospital, who is accused of carrying out tubectomy procedures on 83 women at a camp at Pendari village in a matter of few hours, was arrested on Wednesday.
Gupta and Bilaspur's chief medical and health officer Dr RK Bhange were later dismissed from service by the state government.