The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials arrested two pharmacists and a chemist in connection with the seizure of 15.20 lakh tablets of Tramadol (banned substance) worth Rs. 1.22 crore. On Thursday, they were sent to judicial custody after their Covid-19 tests were carried out at the New Civil hospital in Surat.
Acting on a tip off, the DRI officials had intercepted an export consignment at Hazira port in Surat, and while checking the two containers, officials found 15.20 lakhs tablets of Tramadol worth Rs. 1.22 crores, which falls under psychotropic substance under the NDPS Act. These tablets were hidden in other pharma products like multi-vitamins and ORS.
On the basis of the documents, the officials had found that two pharma shops in Nanapura area were involved in an export racket. The officials had carried out search operations at both these firms and later found that they had a manufacturing unit in Songadh taluka in Tapi district.
The officials said they found evidences of banned tablets being developed and packed in the factory. The officials had also found that substances like Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine had also been diverted from the factory for illegal use. On checking the stock, the officials found that 1,74.978 kg of Ephedrine Hydrochloride IP and 137.175 kg of Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride were found short from the stock and their market value is Rs. 4.14 crore.
On questioning, directors Harshal Desai and Mehul Desai, and chemist Someshwar Patil, had confessed that it was diverted to local markets illegally. The officials had seized machineries used in manufacturing such banned substance. The officials had arrested all the three accused.
The firm directors also had confessed to have exported approximately 44.80 lakh tablets of Tramadol worth Rs. 3.58 crore in earlier consignments. Sources in DRI said that tablets of Tramadol is very much in high demand in several African nations.
On Thursday, all the three accused were produced before Surat District Court, which sent them to judicial custody for 14 days.
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