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Dud kit scare for more states

Calcutta, Oct. 31: A number of states might have bought faulty blood test kits from the Sarda-owned Monozyme India, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee revealed today.

“There are seven to eight states where this kind of malpractice has been found to be flourishing,” he said.

Police have identified these states as Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and several in the Northeast, according to Gyanwant Singh, who heads the detective department of Calcutta police.

“We have seized a lot of papers from the offices of Monozyme which indicate that they had been supplying dud kits to a number of states,” he added.

Bhattacharjee explained that Bengal had sought a CBI inquiry since several states were involved. “An inquiry by our health department alone will not be enough.”

Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra said the government had already written to the Centre to appoint a CBI probe.

Last week, Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had sought a probe by the CBI, but for reasons other than those cited by the chief minister. “A probe by the state government will be biased and protect the guilty officials,” she had said.

Investigators probing the case raided two offices of Monozyme and seized some more documents. They also visited the drug controller’s office to discuss how the dud kits went undetected for so long.

“We have already sent a number of kits to a central laboratory in Delhi to confirm whether they were past their use-by date. More kits seized from district hospitals will also be sent,” an official said. “The chargesheet against the prime accused, Govind Sarda, will be filed only after getting the full report.”

The chief minister had given a clean chit to the health department, but police suspect that the racket enjoyed the support of a section of officials.

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