| Blood suppliers and donors taken into custody at Makhaniya Kuan in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, March 31: Acting on a letter of Bihar State AIDS Control Society, police today conducted raids on at least three illegal blood banks in the state capital and arrested their eight representatives.
The police also detained six blood donors for questioning and verifying facts. The donors, all rickshaw-pullers and makeshift stall owners, were in dire need of money. The agents of the blood banks allegedly lured them to “donate” blood for Rs 300 to Rs 350 per unit.
“I needed money and I have given blood more than 40 times in the past seven to eight months. A few officials of the blood bank used to give me iron tablets and I was never examined for any kind of disease before giving blood. They just darted the needle in my veins. For each unit, I received Rs 300,” said one of the detained donors, who did not wish to be named.
Among the blood banks raided were Suryapali Clinic located at Ashok Rajpath area under Pirbhore police station and two makeshift blood banks operating from homes at Makhaniya Kuan.
The police said Satish Kumar, Binay Kumar, Kumar Parmanand and Triveni Kumar, who worked at Suryapali Clinic, were arrested. When the police raided the clinic, they were collecting blood from donors, the police said.
The next destination of the cops was Mohammed Hafiz’s house at Makhaniya Kuan. “It had been converted into a small blood bank. Two persons — Pankaj Kumar and Rajesh Kumar — were arrested from there when they were taking blood from a few people,” Patna (City) superintendent of police Shivdeep Lande said.
The officer added that one Paras Nath Paswan’s residence in the same area was also raided.
“Paswan’s house had also been converted into a blood bank and we arrested one Radhe while he was taking blood from a few people. Around nine pouches of blood were recovered from the three places,” Lande said.
Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Alok Kumar said these “banks” were neither registered nor had any official document.
“During the interrogation, the arrested persons accepted that they supplied the collected blood to nursing homes in Patna. Those arrested confessed to have been supplying blood to Kumar Nursing Home, Khan Nursing Home and Aman Nursing Home at Makhaniya Kuan, and Ashirwad Nursing Home and National Nursing Home at Kankerbagh,” Alok said.
The SSP added that the business had been going on for years.
“These illegal blood banks used to supply blood to the nursing homes at Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 per pouch. These banks never got the blood samples collected from donors checked. Technical and medical tests were never carried out. Generally, any blood sample collected needs to be checked for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and other such diseases. Moreover, the syringes and the needles found were soiled,” the senior officer said.
He said the nursing homes named by the arrested persons would be checked and legal action would be initiated if they are found to be involved in the illegal trade.
“The drive will continue and more nursing homes and banks will be raided. This needs to be stopped immediately,” the SSP said.
Police sources told The Telegraph this morning that a letter from Sanjeev Kumar Sinha, a senior officer with the Bihar State AIDS Control Society, received on March 17 sent the police into a tizzy after which the raids were conducted.