Ludhiana: In September 2020 an FIR was lodged at the police station, Dehlon under Police Commissionerate, Ludhiana and this led to the first recovery of pharma opioids used as illegal drugs for intoxication.
The recovery included 22000 pills (Tramadol and Alprazolam), 50 bottles (Chlorpheniramine maleate and Codiene phosphate syrups) and a Swift car with registration number PB 10 GH 5150.
Working on the trail that emerged in this case from the interrogation of the arrested duo Dhamanpreet Singh and Ranjit Singh of Ludhiana, the investigating team led by Kanwardeep Kaur IPS, Joint Commissioner Rural succeeded in cracking down on the illegal inter-state manufacture-diversion-supply nexus originating from Rajasthan.
An intense investigation led Ludhiana Police to recover 99,640 bottles of Welcyrex (Chlorpheniramine Maleate and Codiene Phosphate syrups), 9000 tablets – Alprazolam, 2000 capsules – Tramadol prolonged released tablets, 3000 Capsules – Spasmo Proxyvon Plus and 8000 Tramadol (Asinphlex C+) from Jaipur on October 11, 2020.
The worth of recovered drugs in the open market is estimated to be more than Rs 4 crore and 5 persons have been arrested so far. The investigation, so far, has revealed involvement of various pharmaceutical manufacturing firms which are under investigation and further links are being followed up to get at the root of this nexus, said Kanwardeep Kaur.
The breakthrough achieved by Ludhiana Police is significant as it turned out to be the second biggest recovery of drugs after the one made by Barnala Police in August 2020 in which illegal business of pharma opioids worth about Rs 70-80 crore a month being done across 17 states was unearthed.
It turned out that duo arrested by the police at Delhon had purchased drugs recovered from them from Arjun Dev and Gulshan Kumar of Khairthal, Alwar, Rajasthan. Both were arrested on October 7, 2020. The court granted their 7-day police remand for further investigation.
During interrogation, it was revealed that they used to buy intoxicants from Prem Ratan of Jaipur, Rajasthan. They also revealed that one lakh syrup bottles have been secretly hidden at DPR Transport Godown, Vegikal Choraha Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan. Based on their revelations Prem Rattan was arrested from Jaipur.
On October 11, 2020 a joint team of Ludhiana police and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Punjab raided the premises of the main accused Prem Rattan at Muralipura, Jaipur after procuring search warrant and made the aforementioned huge recovery.
Sharing modus operandi details, Kanwardeep Kaur said the main accused Prem Rattan used to procure drugs from various pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, many a time over the expired license. He used to further generate fake invoices in name of some medical stores, registered practitioners but re-route these drugs to smugglers etc at a higher price.
The profit margin was as much as three times the MRP. The companies whioch acted in connivance kept on supplying these consignments even to buyers without a valid license. Payments and transfer of money was mostly done through multiple cash transactions into bank accounts of fake firms specially created for this purpose, the officer added.
One of the companies from whom he used to procure opioid-based drugs is Neutec Pharmaceutical at Narela, Delhi, which is one of the biggest manufacturers of NRx (Prescription) drugs. These drugs are extensively abused as pharma opioids by drug addicts all over the country. It has been further revealed that the accused, after criminal cases on Neutec, further procured such drugs from other pharmaceutical manufacturing companies of North India whose names have been revealed during investigation.
Other officials who were part of the investigating team included Jaskaranjit Teja, ADCP-2, Jashandeep Singh, ACP South and SHO Dehlon Inspector Sukhdev Singh Brar.