K.V. Subramanya

The accused sold the stolen medicines to particular dealers outside State

Kingpin of the gang belongs to Pali district in Rajasthan Medicines from Karnataka sold to wholesale dealers in other States Seven cases of looting of pharmaceutical warehouses reported in last few years

BANGALORE: The murder of the security guard of Lupin India's warehouse on Mysore Road and the attempt to loot medicines in the early hours of Thursday is suspected to be the work of an inter-State gang.

Warehouses of pharmaceutical companies in Bangalore had been targeted by the gang and medicines estimated at crores of rupees were looted.

At least seven such cases had been reported in recent years and most of them were in Byatarayanapura police station limits.

Modus operandi

In all the cases, the armed men arrived in lorries, jumped the compound walls, attacked the security guards, broke into the warehouse and went away with cartons of medicines.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) K.V. Sharatchandra, in whose jurisdiction most of these offences had taken place, said the gang was into marketing the stolen medicines.

Roots in Rajasthan

A senior police official, who had investigated such cases earlier, told The Hindu that the kingpin of the gang belonged to Pali district in Rajasthan and the gang enjoyed the support of a MLA from that State.

Selling stolen medicines estimated at crores of rupees was not easy. The medicines looted from one State were sold in another. The main receivers of the stolen medicines were wholesale dealers.

The gang sold the stolen medicines only to particular dealers, he said.

Cases undetected

While all these cases remained undetected, a team led by the then Assistant Commissioner of Police (Madivala) M. Nagaraj arrested three persons from Hyderabad and recovered from them estimated at Rs. 32 lakh in June 2005.

The arrested had looted the medicines from Nicholas Piramal India Ltd.'s godown at Nayandahalli on Mysore Road on March 23, 2005.

Leaders at large

According to the police, the arrested were mere receivers and the gang leaders were still at large.

An attempt was made to burgle the same godown in 2002.

On December 24, 2005, in the third such incident that year, armed dacoits attacked the security guard of Elders Pharmaceuticals Ltd. at New Timber Yard Layout on Mysore Road and made away with medicines estimated at Rs. 52 lakh. Around 10 men were involved in that incident.

In a similar incident on July 28, 2005, armed men looted a huge quantity of medicines from Alchem Laboratories godown in the Rajajinagar industrial area in Kamakshipalya police station limits.