MSc grad uses factory to make psychotropic drug without licence

By: Manoj Medal

Bengaluru

In what appears to be a major bust, an MSc (Chemistry) graduate, who had set up a factory to manufacture and sell a psychotropic drug without obtaining the necessary approvals, has been arrested by revenue intelligence sleuths in Bengaluru. H Jagannadha Raju worked for some pharmaceutical companies before setting up his own firm, RACS Pharmachem, in Gauribidanur, Chikkaballapur, in 2012. He had the licence to manufacture another chemical, an official in the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence said. Soon, he invested a large sum and started manufacturing and selling Alprazolam, a psychotropic substance commonly prescribed to people with anxiety and panic disorders. One of the most devastating effects of Alprazolam abuse is addiction overdose, which can lead to dangerously slowed breathing and extreme sedation and coma. The drug puts a person into deep sleep. The drugs controller needs to issue a license to manufacture a psychotropic substance. But Raju bypassed it. He started supplying the drug to individuals in the parallel market last year. Because of its high potential for abuse, the substance is listed in Schedule II of the National Drugs and Psychotropic Act. One kilogram of Alprazolam costs around Rs 40,000 in the market .Revenue intelligence sleuths recently got a tip-off about Raju’s business and started tracking him. On Wednesday, they intercepted him transporting the banned substance by car. They found 25 kg of Alprazolam in the car. They then searched his house in Yelahanka, north Bengaluru, and found 25 kg of Alprazolam there, the official said. A team of officials then searched his factory located at the KIADB area in Gauribidanur. There, they found 5 kg of the same substance. The seized substance was in the form of “white powder,” the official said.Sustained interrogation revealed Raju recently supplied the substance to a person in Hyderabad. A team of revenue intelligence sleuths went to Medak near Hyderabad and seized 80 kg of Alprazolam from there. The individual in Hyderabad is neither a chemist nor an authorised stockist of the substance. The seized drug is worth Rs 75 lakh. A special court for NDPS cases remanded Raju in judicial custody.

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