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Mumbai: ANC officials crack down on illegal cough syrup trade

Updated on: 07 August,2023 07:14 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

Agency dismantles notorious gang; five suspects, including pharmaceutical company MRs, were apprehended in a successful three-day operation

Mumbai: ANC officials crack down on illegal cough syrup trade

Vinod Prajapati, Nishikant Dwivedi, Umar Nadim, Sandeep Prajapati and Kunal Vishwakarma

In a major crackdown, the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai Crime Branch has successfully dismantled a notorious gang involved in the illegal trade of CBCS (codeine-based cough syrup) bottles. The three-day operation resulted in the apprehension of five suspects, including medical representatives (MRs) of pharmaceutical companies.

On August 1, 2023, the ANC’s Azad Maidan team made a significant breakthrough when they arrested Umar Nadim, a 29-year-old male and a technician with a shipping company, for possessing 100 CBCS bottles near Times of India Bridge in Kandivli. Subsequent investigations revealed that Nadim had illegally procured these CBCS bottles from Glenm ark Pharmaceuticals company’s MR, identified as Kunal Vishwakarma in Hanuman Nagar, Kandivli East.

During a raid at Vishwakarma’s residence, the ANC team seized a staggering 4,200 CBCS bottles and 900 Nitravet tablets, which were being stored illegally. Another individual, accused number 2, was apprehended during the raid.

Further probing led to the arrest of accused number 3, Nishikant Dwivedi, who was found to possess 375 Alprazolam tablets and some abortion pills. Dwivedi was identified as the supplier of prohibited tablets to Vishwakarma.

During the ongoing investigation, the ANC team made two more arrests on August 4, 2023, nabbing Sandeep Prajapati and Vinod Prajapati, both MRs of pharmaceutical companies known as RPG Life Science Limited and Jagat Pharma Bengaluru. “Initial findings suggest that they forged doctor’s receipts and stamps to purchase CBCS bottles, with counterfeit rubber stamps and forged purchase orders discovered during the investigation,” said an officer privy to the information.

“The total value of the seized contraband in this operation is estimated to be R28,27,500, including R3,50,000 in cash. It’s important to note that CBCS is meant to be supplied only on valid demand by certified medical officers, and it cannot be used without a doctor’s prescription. The arrested MRs’ illegal actions have led to stockpiling of CBCS for sale in the black market,” said Prakash Jadhav, DCP ANC.

This is not the first time the ANC has taken action against such criminal activities. In December 2022, the Azad Maidan team arrested five individuals with a haul of 4,970 CBCS bottles, including one MR from a pharmaceutical company. Over the past two years, ANC teams have worked tirelessly to dismantle major CBCS smuggling gangs, leading to the arrest of 34 suspects and the seizure of a staggering 1,865 kg of drugs in Mumbai city. “The ANC, Crime Branch, Mumbai continues its efforts to combat drug-related crimes, ensuring public safety and upholding the law,” Jadhav added.

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