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Chennai Police busts major Remdesivir smuggling racket, 7 arrested

Over 200 vials, imported from Bangladesh via Hyderabad, seized across the state.

Published: 14th May 2021 08:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th May 2021 08:40 PM   |  A+A-

The seized smuggled Remdesivir drugs. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a major haul, the Chennai Police has seized over 150 vials of Remdesivir drugs smuggled from Bangladesh. The special team led to the arrest of seven people across the state including three in Chennai.

The accused were identified as S Vishnu Kumar, 25, from Virudhunagar, Shanmugam, 35, and his brother Ganesan, 30, from Kovilpatti, Praveen Kumar, 28, from Tirunelveli, B Bhuvaneswar, 36, Maduravoyal and R Nishit Bandari, 32, from Kondithope in Chennai.

It all started with a tip off received by the Special team of police, East Zone, Chennai. “We got information that a person is delivering Remdesivir medicines in the city based on an order on WhatsApp. We called the man and he demanded Rs 26,000 for a vial and Rs 1.6 lakh for six vials,” said Ilayaraja, Sub-Inspector of Police, who led the special team.

S Vishnu Kumar was working as a pharmacist in a private hospital on the Vandalur-Kelambakkam Road. Police said Vishnu had asked them to come near the Kandigai bus stop for delivery, from where the team nabbed the man.

ALSO READ | Are private hospitals in Chennai over-prescribing Remdesivir against ICMR guidelines?

Vishnu had spilled the beans that Shanmugam from Kovilpatti had sent him 10 vials through a private courier agency. While three were already sold, the cops seized seven vials. Based on the information, the Joint Commissioner of Police, East, V Balakrishnan informed DSP (Kovilpatti) Kalaikathiravan.

On Thursday night, the Deputy Director of Health Services (Kovilpatti) Anita and DSP Kalaikathiravan raided the pharmacy on Maettukaliyamman Temple Street in Kovilpatti. Shanmugam and his brother Ganesan were arrested and 42 vials were seized from them.

During interrogation, Shanmugam had said that Praveen Kumar from Tirunelveli had sent him the vials. The information was conveyed to the Tirunelveli police who arrested Praveen Kumar and seized four vials from him.

The Tirunelveli Police found that Praveen Kumar had got the supply from one Medistar Health Care Ltd., a pharma company in Maduravoyal. On Friday morning, the city police nabbed company owner Bhuvaneswar and found that he had sent the vials through courier service.

On further enquiry, they found that Rajasthan native R Nishit Bhandari, who owns a wholesale distribution unit in Kondithope, had sent the vials to Bhuvaneswar. The police also seized seven vials from Nishit Bandari and 145 vials from Bhuvaneswar and arrested them.

Nishit Bandari had received the vials from another pharma company in Hyderabad who had imported them from Bangladesh. V Balakrishnan, the Joint Commissioner of Police, East Zone, said that they have sent the vials to the lab to ascertain if they are original.

All the seven men have been arrested and remanded in judicial custody.



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