HIV-infected children case: Guj MLA under CBI lens

Guj BJP MLA Mahendra Mashru came come under the scanner of CBI probing the case of Thalassemia-affected children allegedly contracting HIV infection.

Ahmedabad: Gujarat BJP MLA Mahendra Mashru has come under the scanner of the CBI probing the case of 23 Thalassemia-affected children allegedly contracting HIV infection during blood transfusion at Junagadh civil hospital last year.

The agency, which is probing the case as per the orders of the Gujarat High Court, has named "responsible persons" of the Sarvodaya Blood Bank, which operates from the premises of the civil hospital, as accused in the case.

Mashru is the president of Sarvodaya Blood Bank from where blood was allegedly supplied for carrying out the transfusion on the kids who were later diagnosed with the HIV infection.

The agency today registered the FIR in the special CBI court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate A Y Dave.

Though CBI has not explicitly named any accused in the FIR, the agency has booked the then civil surgeon of Junagadh Civil Hospital and the officials of the hospital pathology laboratory under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
23 children, suffering from thalassemia, were found to be HIV positive after they underwent blood transfusion in the civil hospital in September 2011. Two of them later died.

When contacted, Mashru said he had done nothing wrong and will cooperate in the investigations.

"I have done nothing wrong. When Gujarat Police was investigating the case, I had extended full cooperation to them. Now as CBI has taken over the probe as per the high court orders, I will fully cooperate with them too. I strongly believe that truth must come out," Mashru told PTI.

The high court had handed over the probe to CBI on June 27 on a PIL filed by an advocate.

In its order, the division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala had ticked off the state police over "shoddy" investigations in the case, especially in context of the MLA, while also criticising the Principal Secretary of Health Department in this regard.

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