Soon after another woman, who underwent sterilisation surgery in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district last week, died on Friday, the Raipur police arrested the pharmaceutical company's director and his son for supplying adulterated medicines to the camps.
One woman died and six more were admitted on 14 November after they complained of vomiting upon consuming antibiotic tablets, apparently from the same batch.
"They came with the medicine strips in their hand ... They complained of vomiting, dizziness and swelling in the feet. It looks like most of the sterilisation patients might be affected due to this medicine," Reuters quoted an official at Bilaspur district hospital.
Following the allegations that the spurious medicines led to the death of many, police arrested Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd's director Ramesh Mahwar and his son Sumit on Friday.
A raid conducted in Mahawar's company by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorities on Thursday supported the allegations. When the FDA inspectors reached the site, they found burnt drugs within the premises of the company.
The samples collected after the raid proved the allegations true, following which Drug Inspector Tripti Jain filed a complaint against the company. The FDA has also suspended the sale and supply of products manufactured by the pharmaceutical company and has sent directives to the chemists and drugs suppliers regarding the same.
"Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd's director Ramesh Mahwar and his son Sumit have been arrested under section 420 for cheating, based on a complaint lodged by Food and Drug Administration authorities," Raipur Superintendent of Police OP Pal told PTI, reported Zee News.
Mahawar's company had supplied this particular batch of antibiotics to the government-organised sterilisation camps. After consuming the medicines, 14 women lost their lives within a week's time while 138 others are still undergoing treatment.
Following claims that the operation was conducted in a rush to meet the target and rusty instruments were used for the surgeries, the police arrested Dr Gupta on Wednesday. Gupta, who performed 83 surgeries at Nemichand Jain Cancer and Research Centre in Takhatpur's Pendari village on Saturday alleged that it was adulterated medicines that caused the mishap and not the sanitation.
Along with Dr Gupta's arrest, the Chhattisgarh government has dismissed Bilaspur's chief medical and health officer Dr RK Bhange from the service and suspended State Programme Convener, family planning, Dr KC Urao and Block Medical Officer, Takhatpur, Dr Pramod Tiwari and transferred Director Health Services Dr Kamalpreet Singh.
As the botched-up surgery has already taken lives of 13, the state government has given a retired judge the responsibility to investigate the incident.
"A single-member probe commission has been constituted and retd District and Sessions Judge Anita Jha has been entrusted with the responsibility of investigating the case of sterilisation surgeries at Sankri (Pendari), Gaurela, Pendra and Marwahi areas of Bilaspur district, where 13 women died and several fell critically ill after undergoing surgery," a government statement said.