The Balangir police in Odisha have busted a major cough syrup racket in Balangir under its 'Mission Cough syrup' drive. As many as 35 suspects of the “Cough Syrup Mafia” were arrested by the Bolangir police. Among those suspected, the police have identified Sana Negi and Prashant Kheti as the two major players in the racket. The police have also seized 'Eskuf' cough syrup worth 35 lakhs.
The police have also seized one country made pistol, 17 mobile phones, one Mahindra XUV Vehicle, two Mahindra pick-up vans, one Tata ACE Vehicle, two motorcycles and Rs.7500 in cash, gold jewelry and a few other articles. An amount of Rs. 2 crores belonging to the supplier company, M/s. Daffodil Drugs Pvt. Ltd, Kolkata, was also frozen.
Balangir Superintendent of Police (S.P), Nitin Kushalkar said that based on local and technical intelligence and pieces of evidence gathered during the investigation, the police busted the racket involved in illegal procurement, transportation and selling of Eskuf Syrup in Bolangir and the neighboring district and destroyed the entire chain ranging from Bolangir to West Bengal
“The modus operandi of the Cough Syrup Mafia is to collect and distribute them in the wee hours, mostly 3 am, 4 am and 5 am. This is why the police had to work round the clock to bust the racket. Prashant Kheti has been arrested and Sana Negi will soon be caught,” the SP informed. The S.P. further added that the manufacturer is based in Himachal Pradesh with the firm registered in Haryana. “The cough syrup is supplied to Kolkata and brought to Cuttack through a transporter.
The racket procured the Eskuf syrup from Cuttack to Balangir by importing the same from Kolkata, said police sources. The accused had committed similar types of offenses in the locality and other bordering districts in the state, they added.
This crackdown was a part of 'Mission Cough Syrup’, which is a crackdown against the Cough Syrup Mafia, they busted this interstate organized racket on Monday.
Concerns regarding Indian-origin cough syrups increased when in December of 2022 around 18 children died after consuming Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, two cough syrups made in India. In October of 2022, the WHO banned 4 Indian-made cough syrups deeming them unfit for children.
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