Month after FDA clean chit, factory making drugs busted

Month after FDA clean chit, factory making drugs busted

Pune, May 2017:

The Pune-based drug manufacturing factory that was busted by a team of Mumbai Police's Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) that had received clearance in April from the State Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which found nothing suspicious in the factory.


Sujlam Chemicals is owned by Harishchandra Dorge, 51, a resident of Pune, who was arrested by ANC from Mankhurd toll naka on May 22 for allegedly smuggling 8 kg mephedrone (MD) worth Rs 1.6 crore in a car.


According to the FDA, the factory was operational for the past 14 years and had a license for producing antifungal creams. It was given a clean chit as it did not find any suspicious activity or chemicals required to produce drugs such as mephedrone, FDA officials said.


However, when the ANC raided the factory on May 23, it found chemicals and seven huge reactors used for production of mephedrone.


"We had inspected the factory in April; but at that time, we did not find any chemicals. The factory has permission to produce antifungal creams. The owner might have been getting chemicals whenever they had to produce MD," said Harshdeep Kamble, Commissioner, FDA.


The police have seized at least 200 types of chemicals from the factory, and seven reactors that are used to produce MD. The police said the reactors are of high quality and can produce 100 kg of MD at one go.


The police are now tracing the distribution points for the drug produced at the factory, and also suspect that the Pune factory may have links to a factory busted by ANC in Karnataka's Hubli. The police suspect that Dorge may have also helped set up the MD manufacturing factory in Hubli.


"The Pune factory is huge and the drug was supplied to Mumbai, Bangalore, and several other cities. We have found some leads about Dorge's accomplices, and we are working on them to track the whole chain.


"As Dorge had the permission to export antifungal cream abroad, it is possible that he may have sent MD or chemicals required for its production abroad," said a police officer who is privy to the investigation.