Two men booked for selling ‘miracle remedy for cancer, diabetes, AIDS’

Two persons, hawking a miracle remedy for diseases such as cancer and AIDS, were on Wednesday booked in Maharashtra’s Nanded district.

The arrests were the first to be effected under the State’s new anti-superstition and black magic ordinance, passed on August 21 following the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, who fought for 18 years for such a law. Sayel Khan Liyakat Khan (25) and Amiruddin Abdul Latif (40) from Ghaziabad and Meerut respectively — had been operating a ‘clinic’ in Nanded for the last one month.

The police nabbed the duo by sending in decoy customers in response to their advertisement in a local newspaper purporting to sell cures for cancer, diabetes and AIDS. “They would charge people between Rs. 100 and Rs. 3,000. They had more than 100 customers going by the receipt book seized at the clinic,” said Nanded Deputy Superintendent of Police Vijay Kabade. Members of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) — Dr. Dabholkar’s organisation — helped the police by explaining which sections of the law would apply to the case.

The duo was arrested on Tuesday, for cheating, under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code and under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. A charge under Section 3 of the new anti-superstition ordinance was added on Wednesday, Mr. Kabade said.

“Under the older legislation, the offence was bailable and invited up to six-month imprisonment, while the new ordinance makes it a non-bailable offence, and the accused face imprisonment of up to seven years if found guilty, police said.

Welcoming the police action, MANS president Avinash Patil said it set a good example. “I urge the Maharashtra government to appoint special police personnel as surveillance officers in all districts so that the legislation can be implemented properly,” he stated.

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