Opioids racket: STF recovers 1.98 crore tablets, 40 kg powder from Himachal-based firm : The Tribune India

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Opioids racket: STF recovers 1.98 crore tablets, 40 kg powder from Himachal-based firm

Opioids racket: STF recovers 1.98 crore tablets, 40 kg  powder from Himachal-based firm

Intoxicants seized by the Special Task Force, Border range, from a pharmaceutical factory at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. File photo



Tribune News Service

PK Jaiswar

Amritsar, May 15

The Special Task Force (STF), Border range, has recovered 1.98 crore tablets of Alprazolam, besides 40kg of raw chemical used for manufacturing intoxicant tablets from a pharmaceutical firm at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh during its six-day operation.

An STF team led by DSP Vavinder Mahajan had been camping at Baddi to scrutinise records of the firm. According to the police during scrutiny of the records, it was found that Biogenetic Drug Private Limited had got a license for manufacturing Alprazolam in May 2023.

“Though the firm has the record of procuring raw chemical and manufacturing intoxicant tablets, it failed to produce records regarding its further sale and supply,” said a police official privy to the investigation on condition of anonymity.

As per records seized, the company had manufactured over 20 crore of Alprazolam tablets in just eight months — from May 2023 to December 2023. Alprazolam is usually misused by drug addicts for addiction. With 40kg of raw material confiscated from the firm, the company could manufacture eight crore tablets that would ultimately reach Punjab for consumption, the police official said.

The firm also came under the radar of the Delhi Police special cell which had confiscated around seven lakh Alprazolam tablets of the same brand in the National Capital. The police had summoned the company authorities for joining probe there.

More heads would likely roll during further probe into the racket, the police official said. For the past three months, the STF was investigating interstate racket involved in illegal psychotropic substances manufacturing and supply.

The operation spreads across five states that include Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The police have arrested a total of seven drug smugglers and suppliers and recovered 70.42 lakh intoxicant tablets and capsules, 725.5 kg of intoxicant Tramadol powder and

Rs 2.37 lakh drug money.

An intelligence-based operation led to the arrest of two drug peddlers identified as Sukhwinder Singh, alias Dhami, a resident of Kot Muhammad Khan village in Tarn Taran district, and Jaspreet Singh, alias Jass, a resident of Govind Nagar in Amritsar. They were arrested after the recovery of 4.24 lakh intoxicant tablets/capsules and Rs 1 lakh drug money from Beas in February this year.

Following the trail, an STF team headed by SP Vishaljit Singh and DSP Vavinder Mahajan arrested the kingpin of the racket identified as Alex Paliwal from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh after recovering 9.04 lakh intoxicants and Rs 1.37 lakh drug money from his possession.

The probe was extended to Himachal Pradesh after Paliwal’s questioning. The firm’s records traced the supply chain to M/s Aster Pharma in Maharashtra, where further investigation exposed Biogenetic Drug Private Limited’s sister pharma manufacturing unit Smilax Pharmachem Drug Industries based in Baddi.

Subsequent operation yielded seizure of 47.32 lakh intoxicant capsules and 725.5 kg of Tramadol powder, sufficient to manufacture 1.5 crore capsules. The records revealed that Smilax Pharmachem Drug Industries had purchased 6,500 kg of tramadol powder within a year.

The police official said concurrent investigations into transportation and distribution of tablets and powder led to the arrest of individuals, including Intezar Salmani, Prince Salmani, Baljinder Singh, and Suba Singh, unravelling the intricate web of inter-state drug trafficking.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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