Remdesivir black-marketing: 14 held across country for hoarding COVID drug

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By PTI

NEW DELHI: Five people have been arrested from different parts of Delhi for their alleged involvement in black-marketing of Remdesivir injection amid its heightened demand due to surging coronavirus cases, police said.

The first set of arrests was made in south Delhi, where three people were nabbed, while two more were taken into custody in west Delhi, they said.

The three arrested in south Delhi have been identified as Likhit Gupta (30), a resident of Patparganj; Akash Verma (23), who lives in Daryaganj, and Anuj Jain (40), a resident of Geeta Colony, they said.

They were arrested after police got a tip-off on Sunday that two persons were passing near the India Habitat Center from Khan Market for selling Remdesivir vials at a very high price, a senior police officer said.

“Thereafter, a trap was laid near IHC, Lodhi Road, and a car was checked. On searching and frisking, four vials of Remdesivir injection were recovered from the possession of Gupta and Verma,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said.

The two accused told the police that they used to sell the vials at Rs 70,000 each to people who are in need, the official said.

They said the third accused, Anuj Jain, used to supply them the Remdesivir injection at high rates to further sell them in the black market, police said.

Later, Jain was also arrested with three vials of Remdesivir injection which he brought to sell to Verma, the DCP said.

Gupta has a medical shop at Daryaganj and Jain has one at Chandni Chowk.

Verma is a jeweller by profession, police said, adding that a total of seven vials of Remdesivir injections and one car were recovered from their possession.

Also, police arrested two persons in west Delhi for allegedly black-marketing the drug.

On Sunday around 4 pm, the staff at Tilak Nagar police station got a tip-off and they nabbed Gurpreet Singh (29), a resident of Tilak Nagar, and Anuj Jaiswal (30), a resident of Geeta Colony, who were allegedly involved in black marketing of Remdesivir injections, police said.

Singh has a spare parts business in Mayapuri, while Jaiswal works at a hospital in Krishna Nagar, they said, adding that two Remdesivir vials were recovered from their possession.

With a surge in coronavirus cases, Remdesivir injections are currently in high demand in the country even though experts have underlined its limited scope in treating COVID-19 patients.

According to police, on the basis of complaint of black marketing of Remdesivir injection in which the complainant allegedly procured two doses for Rs 1.16 lakh through internet, a team of Begumpur police station arrested one Sudhir of Rajeev Nagar.

During preliminary investigation, the role of one nurse of Agrasen Hospital, Rohini has also been found and she has been apprehended, police said, adding that legal action is being taken and further investigation being conducted.

Meanwhile, two male nurses of a hospital in Nagpur and one more person were arrested for allegedly stealing Remdesivir to sell for Rs 30,000 per vial, police said on Monday.

The police got on the trail after one of the accused, identified as Nikhil Dahake (26), set a WhatsApp status claiming he had vials that he intended to sell, a Pratap Nagar police station official said.

“We managed to arrest Dahake when he came to sell the vials. His questioning led to the arrest of his associates Deepak Mahobia and Shivpal Yadav. Yadav and Mahobia are staff nurses with Kingsway Hospital here for the past seven months,” said Senior Inspector Dinkar Thosare.

“Dahake had sold one vial for Rs 30,000 last week. The arrests were made on Sunday. We have recovered one vial from them,” he added.

Four people were held in similar raids at Navi Mumbai in Thane district, police said on Monday.

Acting on a tip-off, a woman was held from Palm Beach road with two vials of the anti-viral drug, which she intended to sell for Rs 11,000 each, an APMC police station official said.

Meanwhile, Koparkhairane police sent a decoy and arrested a person who was selling a vial of the drug for Rs 20,000, an official said.

Remdesivir worth Rs 65,000 was seized from him, and his questioning led to the arrest of two more people, added the official.

Two private hospital staff were arrested on Monday in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur for allegedly black marketing Remdesivir, police said.

A vial of the life-saving drug and cash worth Rs 82,000 were also recovered from the accused, Pilkhuwa police station in-charge Naresh Kumar Singh said.

The accused were identified as Shivam alias Badshah and Gaurav, both employees of Rama Hospital, the officer said.

The police were tipped off by a youth from Dehra village and the accused were arrested while standing outside to sell the injections to a customer.

Upon questioning, police recovered cash worth Rs 82,000 and a Remdesivir injection from them.

They said that some injections were hoarded by them and then sold to the people who are in dire need at high prices, Singh added.



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