Searches conducted in Chennai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram

The Central Bureau of Investigation has seized time-barred medicines in Central government hospitals in Chennai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

In a surprise check conducted between May 15 and 18 in seven hospitals/dispensaries, the agency found expired drugs being supplied to patients.

Disclosing this at a press conference here on Thursday, CBI Joint Director Ashok Kumar said the searches were conducted in the presence of independent witnesses and Drug Inspectors. “Some of the drugs were found expired and the same were being issued to the patients posing health hazards to them. The drugs are being sent to the Central Drug Testing Laboratory for chemical analysis,” he said.

On a tip-off, special teams conducted checks at four pharmaceutical companies in Puducherry and one distributing firm in Chennai and took samples for investigation. The information was that the companies were manufacturing/distributing sub-standard drugs, that the drugs were not permitted by the Drug Controller General of India and that the drugs were manufactured in unhygienic conditions.

Stating that some of these drugs were antibiotics and anaesthetics, Mr. Ashok Kumar said the names of the hospitals and the suspects involved could not be revealed at this stage of investigation. “It is too early to reveal any names…we are awaiting laboratory reports. In-depth investigation will be carried out by the Drug Control organisation and the CBI,” he said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police S. Arunachalam said doctors in the hospitals were told to stop issuing the suspicious or expired drugs to patients.

Oil racket unearthed

Mr. Ashok Kumar said on information that petroleum products were stolen, adulterated and sold to the public, a CBI team went to Konerikuppam in Villuppuram district and seized 45 keys of oil tankers from some suspects. Four persons involved in the pilferage, adulteration and sale of petroleum products were arrested.

“This has caused a huge loss to public sector oil companies. Oil tankers have two keys of which one is in the custody of the oil company and the other with the dealer/petrol bunk manager. Some unknown public servants supplied the keys of tankers for duplication and illegal use by the accused,” he said.

The modus operandi was that the accused would remove about 400 litres of oil from the tanker and put back some waste oil. The stolen oil would be adulterated and sold to the public. The CBI also seized 403.5 litres of high speed diesel from a shop at Cherangara in Thrissur district. A large quantity of blue dyed kerosene meant for public distribution system was seized from unauthorised places in Thiruvananthapuram.

Referring to the cases registered by the Anti-Corruption Branch against a Regional Passport Officer and the Protector of Emigrants in Chennai, Mr. Ashok Kumar said the investigation was nearing completion. Confirming that fake documents were entertained to issue passports or clearance was given for emigration, he said it would be difficult to trace those who had gone abroad. Steps were being taken to recall passports in some cases, he added.

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