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MUMBAI,IMRAN FAZAL: After the Thane crime branch busted an international drug cartel and seized narcotics worth around Rs2,500 crore, pharmaceutical companies at MIDCs are under scanner, while the Food and Drugs Administration is on alert and conducting checks. Crime branch sources revealed that directors of the company have been questioned too.
It came as a major setback to international drug mafias, the link to which started with a Nigerian in possession of 500g ephedrine, after officers bust the racket being run by Avon Lifesciences Ltd, a company listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The police also arrested eight people, including director Manoj Jain and manager Punit Shringi, who were allegedly in touch with international drug lord Vicky Goswami, who was arrested by the Kenya police with help from the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
A senior FDA officer said, “The company produced more ephedrine than shown on record. Also, they used the same machinery to produce the drug that could have later been converted into methamphetamine.”
So far, the FDA has conducted checks of companies located at Solapur MIDC and Boisar MIDC. More registered companies are likely to see surprise inspections.
A senior crime branch officer said, “More arrests are likely soon and we have questioned the directors of the company. Adequate steps will be taken if they are found guilty.”
“So far, we are sure that the arrested director and his manager were in direct touch with smugglers and agents abroad to whom they sold the drugs,” he added.