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India sterilisation: Police arrest drug factory owners

November 14, 2014 6:09 pm

Indian police have arrested the owners of two pharmaceutical factories as part of the investigation into the deaths of 15 women after sterilisation surgery.

The two men were held on charges of destroying evidence – which they deny.

The doctor who conducted the surgery has also been detained. He denies negligence, saying the medicine administered may have been faulty.

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Their cause of death remains unclear. The surgeries were part of a state-run mass sterilisation campaign.

The results of the post-mortem examinations of the 15 women who died in Chhattisgarh state have not been made public yet.

On Thursday police raided the factory which manufactured some of the drugs administered to the women who died after the sterilisation surgery.

A pile of ash was found in the building along with the remains of medicine packets, Reuters news agency reports.

Ramesh Mahawar, the factory owner, who was arrested along with his son, told Reuters that he was being “harrassed” and denied his medicines had any connection to the deaths.

Their arrests came one day after that of the doctor who conducted the surgery.

Dr RK Gupta and his assistant carried out tubectomies on 130 women at two separate camps last Saturday and Monday. Reports say he operated on 83 women in five hours in one of the camps – government rules say one surgeon should only perform 35 operations in a day.

Fourteen died after the first camp in Bilaspur and one after the second. More than 100 women are still in hospital, some of them in a critical condition

Dr Gupta had been earlier feted by the state government for conducting a record number of sterilisations.

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