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by Norman Palihawadane

Six including a health worker attached to the Polonnaruwa Hospital had been arrested for stealing and selling oxygen cylinders from the supply department of the hospital, police said on Saturday.

The Polonnaruwa police arrested six persons including an assistant of the oxygen supply department of the Polonnaruwa General Hospital along with a lorry for stealing 80 filled and empty oxygen cylinders from the hospital and selling them in other areas.

The main suspect is a 43-year-old resident of Polonnaruwa Palugasdamana and the others are residents of Heiantuduwa and Rajagiriya and employees of a private company that supplies oxygen cylinders to hospitals in various parts of the country, according to the police.

Police said that the racket had been exposed following an investigation into a complaint by the health authorities that 208 oxygen cylinders had gone missing from Polonnaruwa General Hospital since March 2020.

On being interrogated by the police, the hospital worker owned up to his involvement in the theft and revealed the names of other suspects, who were arrested.

The medical supply assistant had sold a single oxygen cylinder at Rs 30,000 to 40,000 to private oxygen supplying company, which credited 1.4 million rupees to the personal bank account of the employee, police said.The Polonnaruwa police are conducting further investigations.

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