Gujarat: Six detained as Morbi police busts ‘fake remdesivir racket’

Police also seized 3,371 vials of fake remdesivir injections of Rs1.61 crore face value and Rs 90.27 lakh cash that the accused had earned by selling the fake drug which is used in treatment of Covid-19.

The Local Crime Branch (LCB) of Morbi busted an alleged racket selling fake remdesivir injections and detained six persons from Morbi, Ahmedabad and Surat on Saturday.

Police also seized 3,371 vials of fake remdesivir injections of Rs1.61 crore face value and Rs 90.27 lakh cash that the accused had earned by selling the fake drug which is used in treatment of Covid-19.

Minister of state for home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said in a release that so far 23 cases of blackmarketing of this injection had been lodged and 57 persons arrested.

Morbi Superintendent of Police, Subodh Odedra said that a team of Morbi LCB picked up Rahul Kotecha alias Rahul Lohana who runs an antique articles shop in Morbi and his friend Raviraj Hirani on Friday after getting a tip-off that the duo were cheating Covid-19 patients and their relatives by selling them fake remdesivir injections.

Police seized 41 vials of fake remdesivir injections of Rs 1.96 lakh face value and Rs 2.15 lakh that, police said, the duo had earned by selling fake drug.

During questioning, the duo told police that they had sourced the injections from Mahmmadasim alias Asif of Juhapura locality in Ahmedabad. Following the lead, police conducted a raid in Juhapura with the help of Ahmedabad Crime Branch and seized 1,170 vials of fake remdesivir injections of Rs 56.16 lakh face value from residence of Asif and Ramiz Kadri and Rs17.37 lakh the duo had earned by selling the fake drug. The duo in turn, told police that they were getting the supply of the fake drug from Kaushal Vora, a resident of Adajan area of Surat and that they had ordered one more consignment from him.

The SP further said that another LCB team went to Surat and found that Vora had hired a farmhouse in Pinjrat village in Olpad taluka of Surat district and was packing compound of glucose and table salt as remdesivir injection with the help of his partner Punit Shah of Thane in Mumbai. Police detained Vora and Shah and seized 160 fake remdesivir injections of Rs7.68 lakh face value, Rs74.70 lakh cash that the duo had earned by selling the fake drug.

Odedra said that the gang was packaging the compound as remdesivir injection of Mylan company. “The accused are saying that they had generated the cash we seized from them by selling the fake drug. We are investigating as to whom they had sold this compound,” the SP told The Indian Express.

The SP said that the process of getting Covid-19 tests of the six accused was underway and that if they test negative, they would be arrested. Morbi is among the worst affected districts in Saurashtra and there are significantly longer waiting periods for getting Remdesivir injection from distribution centres set up by state government.

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