The Congress on Tuesday wanted the State government to ensure maximum punishment of death to manufacturers and dealers of spurious drugs, as recommended by the Mashelkar Committee.

Participating in a debate on the demands for grants for the Law Department, Congress member C. Gnanasekaran pointed out that the committee, which had studied the various aspects of the growing threat from spurious drugs, had recommended enhancing the maximum punitive action from life imprisonment to death penalty.

He said the government should also confiscate the assets of the dealers who had been arrested in connection with sale of spurious drugs. This, he said, would ensure that they would not be in a position to buy witnesses against them during the trial.

Pointing out that Meenakshisundaram, who had surrendered in connection with the case, was arrested in 1991, Mr. Gnanasekaran said the situation would not have reached this stage if the government had acted quickly and rooted out illegal drug sale.

CPI (M) member N. Nanmaran said the dealers of spurious drugs, who brought shame to Tamil Nadu, should not be shown any mercy. He also wanted the government to take efforts to make Tamil the official language of the Madras High Court, besides getting a Bench of the Supreme Court in Tamil Nadu.

PMK member A. Tamilarasu urged the government to release Madhaiyan, elder brother of Brigand Veerappan, who was languishing in Coimbatore prison for 16 years.

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