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Image: UP-Odisha join operation, drugs seized worth upto Rs 7.35 crores; Image Source: thestatesman.com

STF officials seize fake drugs worth Rs 7 Crores and 4 Lakhs cash from UP resident

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Acting on the intel received from the Odisha government’s health department, a special task force set out to raid a house in Uttar Pradesh’s Sigra district on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, later arresting the house owner, Bulandshahr native Ashok Kumarz for the possession of fake drugs.

The operation was conducted after drugs of the same kind were seized from Odisha’s Bargarh and Jharsuguda, a day earlier. Apart from the seized drugs the officials also collected 4 lakhs in hard cash from the scene.

After preliminary investigations and a few rounds of interrogation, Kumar confessed his involvement under record, and tipped the officials about a godown under the Lahartara police station near Varanasi. The godown was raided on Thursday, the next day, leading to a huge drug bust with the estimated value to be sitting around Rs 7.35 crore, officials said.

The health department described the raid as one of the biggest drug busts in recent memory.

The recent bust is the long awaited fruition of the joint efforts of offices from the two states, tracing back to mid-February. The process started when the Odhisa’s govt. sought help from Uttar Pradesh to nab an interstate spurious drug racket after its links were first discovered in Varanasi as early as January when the government booked a chemist shop owner in Bargarh and three suppliers in Varanasi for supplying spurious drugs on January 17.

A similar complaint was received a day later, against the two of the named three drug suppliers in Varanasi, and another drug store owner. After similar types of drugs and medicines were seized from other places in Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Bargarh and Sambalpur, as a part of regular drug check by the state drug control organization, the health secretary had directed officials to intensify vigilance.

All leading to the now being conducted interstate investigations by the STF team, set up under the directives from Health Secretary, Odisha, Shalini Pandit and her UP counterpart.

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