Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh police on Friday invoked the stringent Nation Security Act (NSA) against Ajay Tyagi, who was allegedly running a “fake plasma and blood racket” in Gwalior. Tyagi allegedly used to supply fake blood and plasma to COVID-19 patients under treatment at private hospitals in the city, the police said.
A blood bank — Radha Swamy Blood Bank — has been sealed and the Health Department has been recommended to act against three more blood banks in Gwalior which are operational without proper permission and documents, said officials.
The police arrested Tyagi and Devendra, a lab technician from Radha Swamy Blood Bank, and three others following the death of a middle-aged COVID-19 patient Manoj Gupta. Gupta, who hailed from Datia district, had undergone plasma therapy with the plasma sourced from Tyagi’s team at a private hospital in Gwalior a week ago.
As Gupta's condition deteriorated following the plasma therapy, his family blamed fake plasma for causing his death. A post-mortem report revealed that the patient’s blood was infected due to the administration of sub-standard plasma, which was not packed as per standard norms, thus affecting its quality.
After Gupta’s family filed a complaint, the police began robing the matter. The investigation led to a fake plasma racket. The police seized hundreds of packets of plasma and blood from Tyagi's home on December 12 and arrested him.
The police interrogation revealed that Tyagi, a former lab technician, allegedly sourced blood from blood banks with the help of private pathologists and sold it to needy patients at a high price. As private hospitals began to use plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 patients he began to keep plasma at home and sell it for between Rs 18,000 and Rs 20,000. He used private hospital staffers to locate customers.
“The NSA has been invoked against the kingpin, Tyagi, and all five have been booked under charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 304) and under other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. We have arrested everyone,” said Gwalior Deputy superintendent of police Narendra Singh Sikarwar.
Tyagi had allegedly sold more than a hundred units of plasma since hospitals began administering plasma to serious COVID-19 patients in Gwalior.
The incident took the state Health Department by surprise. It has started probing the functioning of private blood banks in the city as well as the deaths of other COVID-19 patients who had undergone plasma therapy.
“A total of 116 COVID-19 patients have been administered plasma therapy in various private hospitals in Gwalior till date, of which 25 persons died. Though none of their relatives complained about the quality of plasma, all 25 deaths are under our scanner,” said Gwalior district Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Manish Sharma.
“A private blood bank — Radha Swamy Blood Bank — has been sealed in Gwalior, while a report has been filed against three more blood banks operating in Gwalior without proper permission and documents,” Dr Sharma added.
A team of drug controllers have also come down from Delhi to Gwalior to investigate the matter. They have also had discussions with officers investigating the case, official sources said.
Fake rubber stamps and seals of a prominent government hospital and the Red Cross Society were recovered from Tyagi’s premises.
Gupta’s family has written to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and sought a CBI inquiry.
The deceased's brother-in-law, Naresh Agarwal, alleged: “The police is trying to save the hospital administration and the doctor who had administered plasma to Gupta without conducting any tests. They are also hiding big names who are associated with the racket and can lead to a bigger scam. Hence, a police investigation cannot be relied upon.”
The family has also sought an FIR against the doctor and management of the private hospital.