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Blood extortion at govt hospital

Calcutta, May 10: A Calcutta Medical College Hospital employee was arrested today for allegedly demanding double the price of two units of blood from the husband of a woman who had delivered twins this week.

Police said Swagata Bose, an upper division clerk at the state-run hospital’s blood bank, had demanded Rs 2,000 from Sheikh Arif although the two units together cost Rs 1,000.

Swagata was arrested within an hour of Arif, who was refused blood as he could offer only Rs 150, lodging a complaint at Bowbazar police station. “She was picked up from the hospital premises and charged with extortion,” an officer said.

Hospital officials said they knew about the arrest but could not confirm whether the complainant’s wife was admitted there.

“The matter is sub judice. Let the police investigation be completed first. We are not sure whether the patient is in our hospital,” a senior hospital official said.

The state’s director of health services, Biswaranjan Satpathy, said steps would be taken to beef up vigilance at the blood banks.

“We plan to hold meetings with blood bank officials across the state. Vigilance needs to be stepped up,” he said.

A unit of blood at state-run banks costs Rs 500, sources in the health department said. If a person has a donor card, one unit is given free at both state and private blood banks.

“Arif did not have a donor card. However, he was charged twice the amount,” the police officer said.