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Buddha taken to court in kit scam

Calcutta, Nov. 1: The father of a thalassaemia patient has taken the government to court over the blood test kit scam.

Tapas Sengupta, who fears for the life of his 18-year-old son, has filed a petition before Calcutta High Court, saying: “The chief minister should be asked to step down taking full responsibility for the scandal.”

Sengupta has made Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra and the principal secretary in the health department respondents in the case in which he pleads that those who have received blood examined with dud test kits be prevented from donating blood to stop a possible spread of infection.

The petition follows the scandal around test kits with expired dates supplied by Govind Sarda-owned company Monozyme India to blood banks over the past one and a half years. There are fears that contaminated blood, which the faulty kits could not identify, has been given to thousands.

In a developed country, the government would have faced a class action suit possibly running into hundreds of crores, but Sengupta has merely requested the court to direct the government to bear the cost of treating those who might have got infected.

“How could the chief minister give a clean chit to his officials' Why didn’t health officials examine the kits properly' The court should ask the government to clarify its stand and identify the errant officers,” the petition says.

Sengupta, a former secretary of the Thalassaemia Society of India, has said: “Many people may have received blood contaminated with Hepatitis B and C and HIV viruses…. Now there is every possibility of these people passing on the infection to others by donating their blood.”

He has sought an order from the court asking the government to identify all such people and restrain them from donating blood at least for a year.

The petition says: “My son is suffering from thalassaemia since his birth and he needs frequent blood transfusion… In the past, I may have approached blood banks that may have tested their blood with Monozyme’s faulty kits. But what I am really thinking about is the future.”

Sarda, the key accused in the case, was denied bail today.

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