COVID crisis: Three patients die in Indore after being given fake Remdesivir, kin allege

By PTI
INDORE: Three COVID-19 patients allegedly died here after being administered fake Remdesivir injections and a probe has been launched, Indore police said on Tuesday.

The fake medicine, which contained only glucose water and salt, had been supplied by an inter-state gang based in Gujarat, police said.

“Sunil Mishra, a resident of Indore who was associated with this gang, sold fake Remdesivir injections to many people in the city in the past one month.

The relatives of three persons who died after taking fake injections have lodged complaints,” Superintendent of Police (Eastern Region) Ashutosh Bagri told PTI.

Mishra, who sold at least 1,200 fake Remdesivir vials in Madhya Pradesh, has been arrested by the Gujarat Police alongwith others, the SP said.

Now police have invoked IPC section 304 (culpable homicide) in addition to other offences against Mishra and others besides the National Security Act (NSA), he said.

Vijay Nagar police station in-charge Tahjib Kaji said all three patients who allegedly died after being administered fake Remdesivir were male, aged between 40 and 55 years.

After the death of one of these patients, his wife died, allegedly due to the shock, he said.

“We will investigate the complaints and record the statements of the doctors who treated them,” he added.

The Gujarat-based gang supplied at least 1,200 fake Remdesivir vials in Madhya Pradesh, including in Indore, Dewas and Jabalpur districts, through Mishra in the last one month, police believe.

Half of these vials were used in Indore alone.

A shopkeeper who had obtained a hundred of these vials was being interrogated.

“We are finding out to whom the injections were sold and administered,” the police officer said.

The stringent National Security Act (NSA) was invoked against four persons, including a director of a private hospital in Jabalpur arrested on Tuesday, in separate cases related to Remdesivir, a COVID-19 drug that is in high demand during the pandemic, police said.

The cases relate to sale of fake Remdesivir injections and black-marketing of the anti-viral drug in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

The Jabalpur police on Tuesday started the legal process under the NSA against Sarabjeet Singh Mokha, director of a private hospital here, and an employee of his facility in the fake Remdesivir injection case, additional superintendent of police (ASP) Rohti Keshwani said.

Under the NSA, one can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months if the authorities are satisfied that the person is a threat to national security or law and order.

Keshwani is heading a special investigation team constituted to probe into the matter, which came to light last week.

Mokha was arrested on Tuesday, while Devesh Chourasia, the hospital employee, was nabbed earlier, he said.

During investigation, it was revealed that about 500 fake Remdesivir injections were procured from Indore and sent to Jabalpur by road, he said.

On Monday, an FIR was registered against Mokha, Chourasia, medicine supplier Sapan Jain and an unidentified person in connection with selling of fake Remdesivir vials in Jabalpur, the police said.

Jain was arrested by the Gujarat police on May 7 for allegedly being part of an inter-state gang that supplied at least 1,200 spurious Remdesivir injections, which contained glucose water and salt, in Madhya Pradesh in the last one month.

The racket was busted in Surat.

Meanwhile, the Jabalpur district administration invoked NSA against two persons, Shahnawaz Khan (30) and Vivek Singh (27), for illegally selling Remdesivir, an official press release said.

The duo was arrested on May 6 by the police for selling two injections of the anti-viral drug, each for Rs 25,000 against their actual cost of Rs 3,000 to 4,000, in the black-market, the release said.

Khan works in a private hospital, it said.

Before their arrest, the duo had sold six injections in the black-market, the release said.

Meanwhile, in Indore, police arrested a pharma trader on Tuesday for illegal sale and purchase of fake Remdesivir injections made from salt and glucose.

According to the police, these injections were made by an inter-state gang operating from Gujarat and they were allegedly administered to three patients in Indore following which they died.

Cops have arrested Ashish Thakur, a pharma trader operating from the local Dawa Bazaar.

He had procured 100 fake Remdesivir injections from one Sunil Mishra, who is associated with the inter-state gang, Superintendent of Police (SP-East) Ashutosh Bagri said.

Bagri said Sunil Mishra, an Indore resident, has been already arrested by the Gujarat police for selling at least 1,200 fake Remdesivir injections in Madhya Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Indore range Inspector General (IG) Harinarayanchari Mishra said three middlemen associated with sale of fake Remdesivir injections were taken into custody.

“We are trying to find out as to whom they had sold these fake Remdesivir injections,” the IG said.