Jodhpur: Making the first arrest in the maternal deaths case, police on Sunday took into custody an official of an Indore-based pharma company while Rajasthan government suspended a drug inspector and a store keeper of one of the two affected hospitals in Jodhpur.
Facing mounting anger over the deaths of 13 women due to excessive bleeding during childbirth allegedly after being administered contaminated intravenous fluids, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot visited Umaid and MG hospitals and made a bid to calm the situation. Gehlot hails from Jodhpur.
The state government increased the Rs 1 lakh compensation originally announced to Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the victims, an official said today while announcing the suspension of the area drug inspector Dinesh Taneja and MG Hospital storekeeper Kusum Acharya.
Jodhpur Police Commissioner Bhupendra Kumar Dak said Sanjay Shah, who is in the Production and Quality Controln department of Indore-based Parental Surgical India Limited, was arrested with the help of the Madhya Pradesh police. "We have arrested Shah and the team is taking him to Jodhpur for the interrogation," he said.
An official said the government has also blacklisted the Indore firm and Anshul Pharma, distributor for glucose supply.
The decisions to make the suspensions and increase the compensation were taken at a high-level meeting in Jaipur last night presided by Gehlot who also directed the Jodhpur Divisional Commissioner to probe the deaths and submit a report within 15 days.
At least 13 women have died in a span of 14 days between February 13 and 26 and three others are battling for their lives after they were allegedly administered IV fluids in Umaid and MG hospitals.
Both Taneja and Acharya were accused by the Administration of dereliction of their respective duties by allowing the spurious IV fluids to reach the government hospitals.
A case has already registered under section 328 of IPC (causing hurt by means of poison with intent to commit an offence), against Parental Surgical India Private Limited, and the Jodhpur distributor, for allegedly supplying contaminated I V fluid that is believed to be the cause behind the deaths.
In addition to the administrative inquiry into the issue by the Divisional Commissioner of Jodhpur, a parallel inquiry has also been ordered to ascertain who is responsible for giving the nod to the drug from an unlisted company. Both the inquiries commenced on Sunday.
Gehlot also held a meeting with the doctors and administrative officers in Jodhpur and assured patients of all assistance.
Two committes which were probing the incident have submitted their reports. The six-member panel of SM Medical College had blamed contaminated IV fluid for the deaths while the two-member government committee has suggested a slew of measures for the hospitals amid fears that an infection could also have led to the deaths.
A team of two doctors from Jaipur also reached Jodhpur today and checked the four patients, who are admitted in the ICUs of Umaid and MG Hospitals. Out of 4 patients in the hospitals, 2 are still in a serious condition.
A four-member police team led by a sub-inspector is also in Indore to quiz officials of Parental Surgical India Private Limited and carry out further investigations. The company was raided on Friday.
Umaid hospital Superintendent Narendra Changani had said that the administration has registered a complaint against the manufacturing company and the local distributor Anshul Pharam, who supplied the contaminated stock of the IV fluid.
Investigating officer Dhagla Ram had said close to 10,000 bottles of the IV fluid have so far been seized and a report of FSL (Forensic Scientific Laboratory) is awaited.
"As a precaution, we have kept the main operation theatre and labour room closed for fumigation," said principal of the SN Medical College RK Aseri.