Chandigarh, Aug 28 (PTI) Punjab police on Friday said they have arrested a father-son duo from Delhi in one of the biggest crackdowns on illegal manufacture and supply of pharmaceutical opioids in the country.
They arrested Krishan Kumar Arora alias Clovidol Badshah and his son Gaurav Arora of Neutec Healthcare Pvt Ltd, a firm located in Delhi's Narela.
'The father-son duo were one of the biggest manufacturers and suppliers of different types of pharmaceutical opioids in the country and were illegally supplying/diverting 18-20 crore tablets, capsules and syrups, worth around Rs 70-80 crore across 17 states of the country every month through various drug supply gangs, including Mathura gang & Agra gang, which were busted recently by the Punjab police,” said Punjab Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta, as per an official statement here.
He said the duo were the alleged masterminds of a 'pharma drug cartel', which controls almost 60-70 per cent of the total illegal pharmaceutical opioid drug trade.
Both men were arrested from Rajouri Garden in Delhi on Thursday by a Barnala police team led by IPS officer Pragya Jain, he said.
The DGP further said the entire network began to unravel with the busting of “Mathura gang” and “Agra gang” by the Barnala police starting February this year followed by major recoveries and arrests in May and July.
As many as 73 lakh intoxicant tablets/capsules/syrups were seized with Rs 2.26 crore worth drug money proceeds recovered and 36 accused persons from five states arrested till now, the Punjab DGP said.
“Sustained and concerted investigations led to the unmasking of the backward and forward linkages of the unholy nexus and further revealed the involvement of various pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, including Neutec Pharmaceutical Pvt Ltd, Narela, Delhi,” the DGP said.
Gupta said the company is one of the biggest manufacturers of some drugs which are extensively abused as pharmaceutical opioids by drug addicts all over the country.
The senior officer said investigation into their modus operandi revealed that Krishan and Gaurav Arora are 'pretty much the biggest fish of the pharma opioid trade”.
“They were clandestinely manufacturing pharma drugs over and above the sanctioned quota, and had created wholesale/retail pharmaceutical firms in connivance with his many associates with the sole purpose of diverting these pharmaceutical opioids into illegal drug by falsely reflecting the sale and purchase of pharmaceutical opioids.
“These fake firms were mainly dealing in the purchase and sale of NRX (prescription) drugs and small quantities of generic drugs as a cover,” he said.
Some of these front firms include Santoshi Pharma, Jagdeesh Pharma, SS Agency, Jai Hanuman Pharma, Mayank Drug House, etc. These front firms were often closed after 3-4 months to evade scrutiny of law enforcement agencies.
An elaborate network of transporters/couriers in Delhi and Agra and other places was also built to facilitate the supply of pharmaceutical drugs across the country, he said.
“In most cases, these drug consignments were delivered without bill to various locations and the transporters were paid 3-4 times above the normal rates as compensation.
'In other cases, these drug consignments were transported on procured fake invoices of genuine pharmaceutical firms. To evade scrutiny by police and law enforcement authorities, the consignments were often marked as 'carrying surgical equipment',” he said.
“In addition, Neutec Healthcare Pvt Ltd used to deliver drug consignments through their own vehicles. It had hired godowns through its agents, in different parts of the country to store these pharmaceutical opioids and to supply them further to pre-identified targets,” the DGP said.
“Payments and transfer of money was mostly done through hawala channels and also through multiple cash transactions into bank accounts of fake firms, especially created for this purpose,” he pointed out.
He added that these pharmaceutical products have legitimate and important medical use, however, these products cannot be sold without a valid medical prescription from a registered medical practitioner.
These pharmaceutical opioids, which are mostly used for pain relief and medical treatment for opioid dependence, were being diverted for intoxication and drug abuse often leading to major drug overdose issues and even deaths, Gupta said. PTI SUN VSD HDA