Pimpri-Chinchwad, 10th April 2021: In a joint operation, the officials from Pimpri Chinchwad Police and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have busted a racket of black marketing of anti-viral Remdesivir injection which is required for the treatment of Coronavirus disease (COVID19) positive patients whose condition is serious.
The investigation has revealed that three seized injections were smuggled from Pune Municipal Corporation’s COVID Care Centre (CCC) located in Baner. The state government has capped the price of one injection (vile) at Rs 1100-1400, however, the accused were selling them for Rs 11,000 to 15,000.
Pimpri Chinchwad Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash had received reliable input about the black marketing of Remdesivir injection. He instructed the officials from the social security cell to take action. Accordingly, a joint team was formed with FDA staff and a trap was laid in Sangvi on Friday.
“The accused Aditya Deepak Mendergi (24) of Pimpri told our decoy customer that he has two injections and asked for Rs 22,000. He was arrested while selling the injections near Katepuram chowk in Sangvi”, the city top cop informed during a press conference today.
During further investigation, Mendergi led the cops to Pratap Sunil Jadhav (24) of Talegaon Dabhade, from whom one more injection was seized. “Jadhav told us that he took the injections from Ajay Gurudev Morale (27) who works as a brother at Medipoint Hospital in Aundh. Morale was also picked up and he led us to the final source of injections Murlidhar Subhash Marutkar (24), who works as a brother at Covid Care Centre in Baner. Marutkar had illegally procured the injections and had given for selling at exorbitant prices without any prescription”, said DCP (Crime Branch) Sudhir Hiremath.
Based on a complaint from FDA inspector Bhagyashree Yadav, an FIR has been registered against the accused persons at the Sangvi police station. Police have also seized a two-wheeler, four mobile phones and Rs 10,400 cash besides the three Remdesivir injections from the possession of the accused persons. They have been charged for offences under sections 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order 2013, Essential Commodity Act and Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.
The action was taken under the guidance of Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash, Additional Commissioner Ramnath Pokale, DCP (Crime Branch) Sudhir Hiremath, ACP (Crime 1) Dr Prashant Amrutkar and Senior Police Inspector Vithal Kubde of the social security cell. The team included PSI Pradipsingh Sisode and police personnel Vijay Kamble, Maruti Karchunde, Vaishnavi Gawde, Sonali Mane and FDA officers Bhagyashree Yadav and Vivek Khedkar.
In the last 10-15 days, there has been a severe shortage of Remdesivir injections as the number of positive COVID patients has increased exponentially. The relatives of patients are seen searching for the injections in medical stores in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. Some chemists were selling them for Rs 5000 per injection. But now the demand has increased so much that one injection is being sold for upto Rs 15,000 in the black market.
Recently, PCMC Commissioner Rajesh Patil issued show-cause notices to three major private hospitals for selling the injections at a high cost for patients not admitted to their hospitals.