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Bottles of fake 'Glycodin' and 'Bricanyl' worth crores seized

THE SEIZURE of spurious cough syrups worth crores in a raid in Moradabad on Friday has blown the lid off a racket that, the police suspect, thrived with help from doctors and police officials.

Spurious cough syrups worth Rs five crore were seized from a house in a dingy Moradabad locality on Friday evening. The fake syrups were sporting the stickers " Glycodin" and " Bricanyl", two well- known brands of cough syrups.

The police said a chain of retailers spread across western Uttar Pradesh was the buyer of these spurious syrups. The retailers spread across Rampur, Bareilly, Badaun, Bijnaur and Meerut districts.

The police are probing if the roots of the racket had spread to the national Capital.

The racket had grown deep roots as, according to an estimate, the retailers in the UP districts had received spurious syrups worth Rs 20 crore in the last two months.

A raid on a nursing home in Rampur ( Jwala Nursing Home) and a medical store in Badaun ( Singh Medical Store) on Saturday threw up more startling facts: members of the racket were in constant touch with doctors and police officials.

Senior police and health officers who took part in the raid did not give the names of doctors and police officials they suspect were involved in the racket, saying it would " hamper investigations". In a sign of evidence of police officials' involvement, kingpins Vinod Bharadwaj and Jitendra Bharadwaj -- both residents of Noida -- escaped barely 30 minutes before the raids on Saturday.

They were probably tipped off.

The police have arrested a medical shopowner, Kundanlal Bhatia, the owner of the place from where Jwala Nursing Home was being run and Hariom Saini Valmiki, the owner of a house in Das Sarai- Katghar, from where the syrups were being distributed.

The police said the fake syrups recovered from the nursing home in Rampur were worth Rs 20 lakh. The nursing home had administered the syrups to over 300 patients in the last two months, they added.

The police also recovered a diary containing the names of the retailers. From entries in the diary, it appears the criminals used to manufacture the fake syrups elsewhere, bringing it to Moradabad for packaging and distribution.

Another entry suggests spurious syrups worth Rs 28 lakh had been supplied in the past one week to Rampur, worth Rs 74,000 to Bareilly and worth Rs 40,000 to Aligarh.

Moradabad's deputy chief medical officer Dr Sukhvir Singh said samples of the seized medicines and syrups had been sent for laboratory tests.

" The recovered stuff looks like a solution of spirit, sugar and honey. Even if a patient with simple cough receives these medicines for more than three weeks, his/ her condition would certainly worsen because what he/ she is taking is not really a medicine," he said.

" We also found stickers of branded cough syrups. They used to sell the fake syrups at half the actual rate. Besides 2,600 bottles of fake syrups, about 100 litres of solution kept in huge drums were recovered.

We believe the criminals escaped with huge quantities of syrups and left behind only what they couldn't keep in their vehicles," Dr Singh said.

Drug inspector P. K. Modi and Rampur's additional district magistrate Bhishmlal Verma, both expressed shock that while the house in Moradabad and the nursing home in Rampur were only metres away from police stations, the racket was active for the last three months.

In Delhi, the police are probing the racket's possible links with the Capital, the epicentre of many fake medicine rackets.

A month ago, the Crime Branch seized cartons filled with fake " Voveran", a painkiller. The police arrested five persons from the Capital, UP and Bihar. These arrests led to more seizures -- of fake " Methergin" ( for pregnancy), " Envas" ( for blood pressure) and many other commonly used prescription drugs.

With inputs from Bhuvan Bagga in New Delhi

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Sep 28, 2009

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