In the largest drug haul in the Indian state of Punjab so far, the State Health department has seized a huge drug stash in Ludhiana from a wholesale chemist Pawan Kumar. The cost of the psychotropic drugs is estimated to be Rs 38 lakhs.
During raids conducted by a team led by Bhag Singh, State Drug Controller of Punjab along with 9 drug inspectors from different districts other than Ludhiana, the state was able to nab one of the biggest suppliers of drugs in the state.
The first raid was conducted at Pawan Medical Store at Kesar Ganj Mandi area near Pindi Street and one godown at Ghora Gali in Anand Market. The raid went on later than midnight. When questioned, salesman Manish disclosed the information of the other hidden godown at Gawalla Mohalla at Lakkar Bazar, which was sealed last night, and uncovered today in the daylong operation.
The team unearthed 343 cartons of drugs which, when sold without medical prescription, are mostly used by drug addicts as intoxicants. Members of the team believe that the seller has a vast network in the state and supplied these drugs to various places across the state. The cache includes 19,946 capsules, 70,000 injections, 14,70,000 tablets and 20,700 cough syrups.
With this major haul, habit-forming drugs worth Rs. 2 crore 50 lakhs have been seized during various raids conducted by the Punjab Health Department all over the state in the last 6 months.
Accused Pawan Kumar was caught in a similar case last year after which the Wholesale Chemists' Association of Ludhiana had terminated Pawan Kumar's membership. "We have already dismembered him from our association after he was caught in a similar case about nine months ago. But he still kept on accumulating psychotropic drugs at a large scale," said RK Miglani, vice-president of the association.
State Drug Controller Bhag Singh said, "The drug mafia in the city keeps the supply of drugs to the addicts uninterrupted. This raid is our biggest success so far. But this has been possible because we had strong backing from the Health minister Laksmi Kanta Chawla. Sometimes we face various obstacles like threats in the form of political pressure as some dealers have support from some politicians."
Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr SP Sharma, who was present on the site today, said that the seizure would act as a deterrent as it would give a strong message to all such drug dealers.