LAHORE  - Lahore Police on Tuesday claimed to have busted a gang of ‘blood sellers’ by arresting its four members including three hospital officials involved in illegal trade of blood bags in different parts of the provincial metropolis.

Official sources said that the Shadman police arrested Shahzad, Munawar, Arif, and Nasir on the charges of illegal trade of blood.

Three of the accused are said to be the employees of the Mayo Hospital and Lahore Mental Hospital while the fourth member of the gang was a salesman at a private medical store.

“We have recovered 1,200 empty bags with official stamps and 22 bags of blood from their possession. They used to sell the donated blood bags from the hospitals’ blood banks to the needy persons in the open market,” Station House Office (SHO) Shadman police station, Asim Jehangir confirmed to The Nation on Tuesday.

In some public hospitals, he added, the empty blood bags are available free of cost but the arrested accused had been selling these empty blood bags at Rs 150 per bag to owners of pharmacy shops.

The police conducted the raid after receiving secret information that a few members of the hospital staff were selling blood bags to the needy patients even without proper testing. Police sources revealed that hundreds of blood bags are missing from the hospital’s blood banks.

The police have registered a case (FIR No 353/14) under section (380 and 411 of the PPC) against the arrested men. More arrests are expected in the days ahead since the accused are being investigated in connection with the missing blood bags.

During preliminary investigation, the alleged criminals confessed to the investigators that they had been selling the donated blood from the blood banks set up the Mayo Hospital and Mental Hospital to the needy patients at high prices.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the administration of the Mayo hospital and Mental Hospital are yet to initiate a departmental inquiry against the arrested officials.