Guj: Factory manufacturing fake Remdesivir busted; six held

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Ahmedabad, May 1 (PTI) The Gujarat police on Saturday busted a factory in Surat, which was allegedly manufacturing fake Remdesivir injections, used in the treatment of COVID-19, and arrested six persons in this connection, an official said.

Acting on a tip-off, the police in Morbi town arrested three persons for selling Remdesivir without prescription, Director General of Police (DGP) Ashish Bhatia told reporters.

During the probe, the accused led the police to Ahmedabad, where the city crime branch sleuths raided a house in Juhapura and recovered 1,170 vials of Remdesivir and Rs 17 lakh cash and arrested two more men, the official said.

On questioning the duo, the police found that they had procured the injections from one Kaushal Vora, a resident of Surat, he said.

The city's crime branch traced Vora and co-accused Puneet Gunwant Shah to a farm house in a village in Olpad taluka of Surat district, Bhatia said.

'The police found a whole factory manufacturing fake injection set up at the farm house. The accused repackaged vials of glucose water and salt and labelled them as Remdesivir,' the DGP said.

The accused were planning to sell 60,000 vials of the fake injections, of which 5,000 were already sold, the official said, adding that the accused had initially charged Rs 2,500 for a vial, then increased the price to Rs 3,500 as the demand rose, he said.

The police have arrested a total of six persons from Morbi, Ahmedabad and Surat and seized 55,000 bottles of Remdesivir and 30,000 stickers printed at a press in Mumbai from the factory, the official said.

At least 1,211 vials of fake Remdesivir injections were also seized, he added.

Black marketing of Remdesivir has become rampant due to the demand for the anti-viral drug, which is used in the treatment of COVID-19.

The accused were booked under sections 308 (culpable homicide), 274 (adulteration of drugs), 275 (sale of adulterated drugs), 420 (cheating), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and provisions of the Disaster Management Act.

Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja said the government has cracked down on black marketing or sale of fake Remdesivir injections, and the police have so far arrested 57 accused.

At least 23 cases of fake Remdesivir injections and black marketing have been registered in Gujarat, including nine in Ahmedabad, three each in Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara, and one each in Mehsana, Valsad, Dahoh, Patan and Bharuch districts, Jadeja said. PTI KA ARU ARU