April 20, 2021 5:11:39 am
Mumbai Police had issued summons to Bruck Pharmaceuticals — the Daman-based company manufacturing Remdesivir that is in the centre of a political row in Maharashtra — to appear before them on April 14. The police had information that the company had allegedly been hoarding Remdesivir, which has been in high demand in the state for Covid-19 treatment.
As per the police, no one from the company had responded to repeated communications until the police got a director of the company from his Kandivali residence to BKC police station for questioning on Saturday. However, the police were informed that the FDA had granted the company permission to sell the drug vials to the Maharashtra government on the same day.
Airport cargo comes under the jurisdiction of DCP (zone VIII) Manjunath Singe, who had called the director of the Daman-based company for questioning. Sources said that the police along with FDA and even Customs are working on leads on any company trying to stealthily export Remdesivir.
An officer aware of the probe said that around four days ago, some senior officers had received a list of Remdesivir stocks that were being transported to air cargo for exporting them. Since the Indian government had banned export of Remdesivir on April 11 in light of the shortage in the country, the police were conducting raids to prevent such illegal exports.
An officer said that on April 14, they had an input of 2400 vials being in the process of being exported. The police along with FDA and customs seized the vials. In the list of companies that were trying to export or sell the drug in the black market, the name of Bruck Pharmaceuticals was present, an officer said.
Accordingly, DCP Singe summoned its officials on April 14 first, and then again the next day. “When no one appeared, one of the directors was called in for questioning at 8 pm on Saturday,” an officer said. However, soon after the director was called for questioning, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, along with senior party colleague Pravin Darekar, landed up at the police station. They scolded police officials for “unnecessarily harassing” the man and sought an explanation on why he had been called in.
An officer said they had informed Fadnavis that the police team was unaware that permission had been granted to the company a few hours earlier. In fact, even the senior FDA officials who were present during questioning of the director were unaware that permission had been granted.
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