The Crime Branch of the Delhi police, which has arrested four persons in connection with alleged pilferage of medicines from at least two Central Government Health Scheme dispensaries, suspects involvement of more people in the illegal trade that is causing a huge loss to the exchequer.

Searches at two medical stores in Bhagirath Place where the stolen medicines had purportedly been supplied from the CGHS dispensaries led to some more seizures on Wednesday.

“We are in the process of establishing the chain through which the medicines were stolen from dispensaries and sold to chemist shops through middlemen,” said a police officer. The items stolen from the dispensaries under scrutiny include analgesics, syrups and expensive anti-biotic medicines.

Among those arrested so far are two CGHS employees, Ravati Prasad Sharma, who was a storekeeper at the Vivek Vihar CGHS dispensary, and Mithun Tyagi, a computer operator at the Yamuna Vihar dispensary. Ravati Prasad purportedly claimed that he had been active for the past three years. “We cannot rule out the possibility of involvement of CGHS employees at other dispensaries,” said the police officer.

Elaborating on the modus operandi employed for pilferage, the police officer said both the government supplies and those procured from the market are stolen and diverted from the dispensaries: “The records are fudged to conceal the theft.”

Stating that theft of medicines and medical items was rampant, the police officer said about two months ago the State Health Department had suspended the Medical Superintendent of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital following charges of swindling government funds.

The hospital’s pharmacist and store in-charge were also suspended. A case was subsequently registered against the accused at the Rohini police station and investigations taken up by the Crime Branch. Preliminary investigations in that case have revealed that expensive items like sutures were stolen from the hospital and unnecessary purchases were made.

The initial amount of loss was calculated at about Rs.75 lakh.

“Three similar cases of suture thefts have been reported at Safdarjung and two at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital. Preliminary investigations have revealed that there is a pattern to all the cases,” said a police officer, indicating that all the thefts could be the handiwork of a particular gang.

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