The police on Sunday arrested a quack in connection with the death of a 15-year-old boy in a remote village in Kendrapara district of Odisha.

The quack, identified as 30-year-old Indrajit Biswas, is accused of administering wrong drugs to Subrat Barik, who was down with fever, causing the death of the boy. As his condition worsened, people rushed the teenager to a government-run community health centre in Rajnagar where the doctors declared him brought dead.

Barik was a student of class 8th at a government-run school in Balikana village, which remains cut-off from government-run health service network. Biswas is a native of Contai in Purba Medinipur district in West Bengal.

A complaint was registered by the deceased’s parents and the police launched an investigation. The quack has been arrested under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

“We are waiting for the post-mortem report. If the report finds drug-related fatality, separate case under Section 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code will be registered against the quack,” said Inspector Sukant Kumar Patra of Rajnagar police station.

The government-sponsored health service has remained a far cry for the people in some areas of coastal tehsils of Rajnagar and Mahakalpada. As a result, quacks manage to run a parallel health service network.

Civil society activist Binayak Swain alleged that the absence of doctors in rural health centres has allowed quacks to cash in on the situation.

Health department officials admitted the vacancies in rural health centres.

“The vacancies are affecting the health service network mostly in rural areas. We have written to the higher-ups for the filling up of the existing vacancies”, said Chief District Medical Officer, Baishnab Charan Sahu.