SIX persons, including the director of a leading pharmaceutical company of Baddi, the pharma hub of Himachal, were arrested for illegally storing and striking a deal for the sale of antiviral Remdesivir in Chandigarh on Sunday.
At least 3,000 Remdesivir injections were seized from the pharmaceutical company, Health Biotech Limited, in Baddi.
The six persons of whom three were from Kerala, and one each from MP and Delhi were rounded up for questioning from a five-star hotel in Sector 17 before being arrested. Later, they were remanded in four days police custody.
Gaurav Chawla, director of Health Biotech Limited, Baddi, is also among those arrested.
The other five were identified as Abhishek, Jacob and Francis from Kerala, Sushil Kumar of Delhi and Prabhat Tyagi of Madhya Pradesh.
The government banned the export of Remdesivir on April 11 following the steep rise in demand due to the second surge of COVID-19 cases.
SP (Chandigarh) Ketan Bansal said, “We received a tip-off about an illegal deal related to Remdesivir at a Sector 17 hotel late Saturday evening. We conducted a raid and rounded up six people. Upon verification, a stock of 3,000 Remdesivir injections was found at Health Biotech Limited in Baddi. The MRP tags were being pasted on the injections. Though director, Gaurav Chawla, claimed that he is authorized to manufacture and export the medicine, he failed to produce any relevant documents. The export of the medicine is banned since April 11. The accused had gathered in Chandigarh from different places to collect the stock. Further investigation is on.”
A team headed by cyber cell Inspector Hari Om produced all the arrested accused in the local court, which remanded them in four days police custody. Sources said a detailed report of the entire operation was send to central health authorities.
A case was registered at PS 17. Chandigarh police arrested the six persons under the charges of forgery, cheating, Section 7 of Essential Commodity Act and under Section 27 of Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Remdesivir is an antiviral drug. The surge in cases has led to a sudden spike in demand for the antiviral drug.