NAUSHAHRO FEROZE, April 28: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday arrested three people involved in the misappropriation of millions of rupees in connection with Chief Minister’s Hepatitis Control Programme.

The arrested included District Focal Person Dr Asif Rajput, Laboratory In-Charge Soomar Soomro and a bank officer Ali Sher Channar for allegedly embezzling Rs10.3 million regarding polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

The scam was unearthed when several people complained about wrong results of their blood tests conducted at a Lahore-based laboratory after getting their specimen retested at private labs.

The tests were supposedly done post-May 2010 when the contract of the laboratory with the Naushahro Feroze district government had already expired which was corroborated by one Mr Usman who introduced himself as the manager of Lahore-based laboratory. He said that their contract with the district government for carrying out hepatitis tests expired in 2010 as the last specimen was done on May 20 of that year.

The government, following media reports, assigned DG Health Services Dr Zahoor Baloch to conduct an inquiry. The inquiry held responsible EDO Health Dr Mazhar Hisbani, Javed Shah, in-charge of an NGO - Sahkar Welfare Association, Kandiaro and Abdul Sattar Rajpar, beside others.

He submitted the report to in-charge of the hepatitis programme in Karachi wherein it was decided to recover Rs10.3 million. Soon after, the Anti-Corruption Establishment and FIA came into action and appointed an inspector Nisar Savanto to complete inquiry.

The probe by the FIA inspector held accountable Focal Person Dr Asif Rajput, Laboratory In-Charge Soomar Soomro, bank officers Javed Shah, Manzoor Goraho and Ali Sher Channar and a private person Abdul Sattar of alleged wrongdoing.

Subsequently, the report was sent to Deputy Director, FIA Commercial Banking Circle for registration of an FIR which summoned the accused in Karachi on Friday. Dr Asif Rajput, Soomar Soomro and UBL officer Ali Sher were booked and arrested on their arrival, while the remaining didn’t turn up.

An FIA official informed Dawn that a Sub-Inspector Nafees Ahmed will proceed with the case as he had been appointed an investigation officer.

FIA discovered that the embezzlement took place through bank cheques as the amount was deposited in fictitious account in the name of a laboratory, situated near Civil Hospital Naushahro Feroze which doesn’t exist at all. The account was opened by Javed Shah.

Abdul Sattar Rajpar and Javed Shah prepared fake test reports in connivance with the health officers, FIA officials said .