Delhi Police busts 4 for remdesivir ‘black marketing’, says inter-state gangs involved

Boxes of Remdisivir anti-viral drug | Photographer: Sima Diab | Bloomberg
Boxes of Remdisivir anti-viral drug | Photographer: Sima Diab | Bloomberg

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New Delhi: The Delhi Police crime branch has busted two separate inter-state gangs with the arrest of four persons who were allegedly black marketing remdevisir vials in the national capital. So far, the police has successfully recovered 81 remdevisir injections from the possession of the accused.

Remdesivir is one of the most sought-after experimental drugs for the treatment of Covid patients, and part of the country’s treatment protocol. Major states and cities like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi are facing shortage of the drug.

Currently, several teams of the crime branch have been deployed and tasked to identify and launch a crackdown on such inter-state gangs.

Speaking about the first arrest, Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime branch) Monika Bhardwaj said, “Two men identified as Talwinder Singh, a resident of Amritsar and Jitender Kumar, a resident of north Delhi’s Roshanara road have been arrested after we received secret information that they are black marketing remdevisir and other life saving drugs. FIR has been lodged against the accused.”

According to the police, a trap was laid down near Parmanand Chowk, GTB Nagar in Delhi and the accused were nabbed Wednesday. The police recovered 71 vials from them.

“During interrogation the accused revealed a whole gang is operating in major cities and selling remdesivir at exorbitant prices of Rs 25,000-40,000. Currently teams are conducting raids in Punjab to apprehend the others involved and recover other injections,” the DCP said.

In a separate operation conducted later, Bhardwaj said the police arrested two others — Mohammed Shoaib and Mohan Kumar — and recovered 10 vials of remdesivir from their possession, near Batra hospital in Delhi.

“During interrogation, the accused disclosed that they have other gang members operating in Gurugram and Mumbai. We are conducting raids to recover the injections … as per our information, there are 10 other vials with this gang,” a senior officer said.

“In order to nab these black marketers, some police personnel are visiting pharmacies and standing near hospitals posing as customers,” said a second police officer who didn’t wish to be named.

Also read: Airlift oxygen, give adequate vaccines, allow Remdesivir imports: Uddhav Thackeray to PM Modi

WhatsApp groups tracked

According to the police, Talwinder Singh disclosed during interrogation that he allegedly hoarded remdevisir in large quantities and sold them according to demand.

“Talwinder supplied the injection on a pan-country basis through one courier company based in Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Jitendar, the co-accused ran the courier company and received Rs 2,000 as commission per injection,” DCP Bhardwaj said.

The police has also tracked down WhatsApp groups of these inter-state gangs, in which they shared operational details.

“We have come to know that there is an entire supply chain of persons involved in this illegal drug hoarding syndicate and they discuss details over a WhatsApp group. Selling is done mostly through word of mouth. Further interrogation of the accused is going on. We will reveal details on other gang members once they are all arrested,” the police officer said.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)

Also read: Lay on belly for oxygen: AIIMS Patna’s new Covid SOP skips mention of remdesivir, favipiravir


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