For a few thousand rupees, unscreened blood has been making its way into blood banks at the country’s two prestigious hospitals — All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital — in the Capital.
Police said rag pickers, drug addicts and many of those people loitering outside hospital premises were donating blood for as little as Rs 500.
The racket, police said, also involved some hospital staff and blood bank officials.
In some of the cases, the blood was not even screened before finding its way into the banks, police said.
On Wednesday, police arrested six men — including a security guard of Safdarjung Hospital — for their alleged involvement in the racket.
The six accused were identified as Mahesh Kumar (42), Satish Kumar (47), Kailash Singh (45), Gaurav Kumar (24), Ankur (19), who goes by one name, and Lal Bahadur (47), the security guard.
“The accused, in connivance with blood bank officials, forged signatures of doctors and took blood from rag pickers and drug addicts without even screening them,” said HGS Dhaliwal, DCP (south). “We have seized several donation forms and three mobile phones containing incriminating details from their possession.”
Police said the accused sold blood units from the bank to people in need at inflated rates.
According to norms, each unit of blood taken from the bank has to be replaced with another, not necessarily of the same group, but donated by either a relative of the patient or a healthy person.
“To avoid shortage of blood units in the bank and for the fear of being caught, the accused replaced the units with blood from donors who were not screened,” said the officer. “The signatures of doctors were forged for the forms.”
Police said blood bank officials were yet to be arrested, but there were strong evidence against them.
“On Wednesday, we collected all the data and records from the blood bank. Several diaries containing details of professional donors, clients and other hospital authorities have been seized,” said Dhaliwal.
The fraud was unearthed when Vinod Kumar, a Ghaziabad resident, complained to the police that he was cheated by some persons who had promised him blood at he rate of Rs 2,000 per unit at Safdarjung Hospital for his two-year-old daughter.
“Vinod was recently operated for an ailment and was not in a position to donate blood. He came in contact with Mahesh, who allegedly assured him the necessary units on a payment of Rs 2,000 per unit,” said the officer.
Mahesh Kumar has reportedly been involved in this trade for ten years, while Satish was part of at least four cases.
Kailash Singh was involved in four cases and Ankur is a regular blood donor.
More people are likely to be arrested.
When contacted Jagdish Prasad, medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, said, “How can we keep track of so many things that happen at or outside the gates of the hospital? I am not aware of any blood trade on our campus. We have no shortage.”