The crime branch on Wednesday night arrested two regional sales managers of a pharmaceutical company for allegedly selling remdesivir injections – used in the Covid-19 treatment – for ₹30,000 each.
According to officers from crime branch unit 7, Chandraprakash Gupta, 31, and Swatantra Shukla, 32, are the masterminds of the illegal remdesivir sale racket.
The duo used to take the injections from hospitals or medicine distributors by claiming that it was required for the relatives of senior officials of the pharmaceutical company where they worked. They then used to sell the injections for exorbitant amounts, said crime branch officers.
“Gupta and Shukla were in touch with around 200 hospitals, distributors and medical stores in Mumbai and Thane. The accused used to sell a single vial of remdesivir injection to customers for ₹30,000, which is almost six times more than the actual price of the anti-viral drug,” said Akbar Pathan, deputy commissioner of police (crime branch).
“They conspired to make easy money by procuring and selling the drugs for a higher price and dupe needy customers. They are the masterminds behind the illegal remdesivir sale racket and we are questioning them to find out how many injections have they sold in the black market so far,” Pathan added.
A local court on Thursday remanded them to police custody till Sunday.
Last month, the crime branch busted the racket and arrested seven people in connection with the case and seized 13 injections from them. The accused were identified as Rahul Bharat Gala, Vikas Angad Dubey, Bhavesh Ashok Shah, Ashish Gangadin Kanojia, Ritesh Rohidas Thonbare, Gurvindersingh Jasvindersingh Rathod and Sudhir Babu Pujari.
Based on a tip-off, unit 7 officers, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials, sent a dummy customer to meet Shah. After bargaining the price of the drug, he agreed to sell a vial of the injection for ₹30,000. Shah then asked the customer to collect the injection from Gala and Dubey and gave their address to the customer.
The police then conducted raids and arrested Gala and Dubey from their homes in Mulund and Diva, respectively, and recovered seven injections from them. The duo worked at a medical store in Mulund. The police then probed Shah, Gala and Dubey, and arrested the remaining accused and recovered six injections from them.