90 Remdesivir injections worth Rs 4.68 lakh seized in Vadodara, five arrested

Gang was planning to sell each injection vial for up to Rs 20,000: Police

The Vadodara Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) has seized the state’s biggest stock of 90 Remdesivir injections worth Rs 4.68 lakh from five persons on Wednesday. Commissioner of Police Shamsher Singh said the gang was planning to sell the injection vial for up to Rs 20,000 each.
The 90 to 100 mg vials of the crucial drug, manufactured by the Hetero Pharma and sold under the brand name Covifor, was seized from Rishi Pradeep Jedh (26), Vikas Lakshman Patel (36), Pratik Panchal (29), and his aide Manan Shah (34) on Tuesday, Singh said. A fifth accused, Anand-resident and drug agent Jatin Patel, meanwhile, was nabbed on Wednesday.

Of the 90 vials, 17 were seized from Vadodara residents Jedh, 16 from Panchal, and 12 from Vikas. A huge stock of 45 vials were recovered from Jatin Patel’s drug agency, the DCB officials said. The police have also seized Rs 2 lakh in cash taking the total value of the seized goods to Rs 7.61 lakh.
During interrogation, the accused told police they have sold a total of 300 to 400 injectable Remdesivir since the surge in Covid-19 cases, so far.

“With the latest arrests the Vadodara Crime Branch has exposed the black-marketing scam, which involves pharmacists, medical stores, and drug supply agencies. The five accused were selling each injection for Rs 16,000 to Rs 20,000. One of the accused, Vikas Patel, works in the medical store of Shroff Hospital. He procured the injections from Jatin Patel of Anand, who runs a medical and drug agency. We seized 45 injections from this agency in Anand and another 45 injections from the four accused from Vadodara. Thus, a total of 90 injections have been seized along with a cash amount of Rs 2 lakh,” Singh said.
According to an FIR registered by the DCB, the police nabbed the first accused on Tuesday night after setting up a watch based on a tip-off received regarding the “delivery of Remdesivir injection in Subhanpura area of Vadodara”. When the police personnel intercepted and questioned the suspect, he identified himself as Jedh.

“In a bag that Jedh was carrying on his person, 17 small cartons, each containing a single vial of lyophilized powder, Hetero-brand Covifor injection, with an MRP of Rs 5,400 were seized along with a mobile phone. Jedh, during interrogation, said he purchased each vial for Rs 13,500 from Vikas Patel, who works in the medical store of Shroff hospital and was to sell it for Rs 14,000, making a profit of Rs 500 on each vial,” the FIR states.

Vikas Patel was nabbed from near BAPS Hospital in Atladara with 12 vials in his possession. Vikas, in turn, told the police that he had procured the injections from Jaynam Pharma, owned by Jatin Patel in Anand, and had received a stock of total of 75 vials of Remdesivir on Tuesday. Of these, he had handed over 25 vials to Pratik Panchal, the FIR states.

The police also nabbed Panchal and his aide Manan Shah from Sama-Savli Road. The FIR states, “The accused said the injections were supplied by Jatin Patel of Jaynam Pharma and they could not produce prescriptions or invoices for the same to establish that the vials were legally procured for medical use. Thus, it appears a prima facie case of black marketing of the Remdesivir injections.”

All accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 420 for cheating and 114 for abetment of crime as well as relevant sections of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and Disaster Management Act, 2005, that are in force during the ongoing pandemic.

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