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Accused Arrested in Blood Test Kit Scam

Kolkata: Ghanshyam Sarda, a prime accused in the expired blood test kit scam was arrested here Thursday, said a senior police official.//

"We have arrested Ghanshyam Sarda from Kolkata airport. He will now be produced in court," said Gyanwant Singh, deputy commissioner of police (detective department).

Ghanshyam's brother, Govind Sarda, was arrested a few days ago. The brothers own Monozyme India, a Secunderabad based company that has been charged with supplying expired blood test kits in West Bengal over a period of two years. The scam was busted recently.

All hospitals and blood banks in the state were earlier alerted against using these kits.

Health workers fear that thousands of people across the state might have already received contaminated blood that was tested with kits having expiry dates tampered with.

"The samples they sent for testing to the government while clinching the order were cleared by the expert committee as there was nothing wrong with them. But the kits in the final consignments were past their expiry dates," said a police official.

Monozyme India is said to have bagged the contract by quoting Rs.20 per kit as against Rs.60-70 quoted by their rivals. The firm clinched the contract in December 2004 after the state AIDS Control and Prevention Society floated the tenders.

Till August 2006, the company had supplied over 1,40,000 kits for detecting infections like Hepatitis B and C, said a health official.

Police had earlier confiscated nearly 2,000 kits from various distribution centres, including the central blood bank.

Each test kit, containing chemicals that can show the anti-body reactions in the blood sample to viruses causing Hepatitis B, C and HIV, can test up to 48 units of blood.


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