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3 held for selling fake medicines to AIDS, cancer and heart patients

Police said the gang targeted patients in advanced stages of illness at city’s hospitals.

delhi Updated: Sep 01, 2018 00:00 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Fake medicines,AIDS patients,Fraud
The three men were identified as Mujammil,34, Ravi Shetty, 38, and Manoj Govind Shikre,34(HT Photo)

Three men from Karnataka, who posed as doctors to target Delhi’s AIDS, cancer and heart patients and sold them fake Ayurvedic medicines worth lakhs of rupees, have been arrested, police said on Friday.

The gang allegedly employed scores of agents to look for patients (and their relatives or next of kin) in the advanced stages of illness at the city’s top hospitals and religious places, police said.

The three men were identified as Mujammil,34, Ravi Shetty, 38, and Manoj Govind Shikre,34, all natives of Belgaum in Karnataka. None of them has completed even their schooling.

After duping a large number of patients in one city, the gang would wrap up their business, go into hiding for a while and then set up shop elsewhere, Mandeep Singh Randhawa, deputy commissioner of police (central), said.

Police said the gang has been active for the last three years and has cheated people in cities such as Hyderabad, Pune, Indore, Vadodara and Surat.

They set up their latest shop, Sainath Ayurvedic Bhandar, at a commercial building on Asaf Ali Road in central Delhi’s Chandni Mahal in early August, the DCP said.

Police learnt of the fraud on Wednesday after a vendor in south Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar complained of being duped of ₹65,000 by the gang that offered to cure his 18-month-old son. The toddler suffered from jaundice since birth and his parents didn’t have hopes of him recovering fully despite getting him treated at AIIMS, the DCP said.

A case based on the man’s statement was registered at Chandni Mahal police station and the shop in Chandni Mahal was searched on Thursday. Police said the shop had a separate chamber for a “doctor” and a counter for “medicines”. The “medicines” have been recovered.

“The gang sold medicines which they claimed were made from “ash” of gold, silver or diamond. We will send the seized ”medicines” for a forensic examination to determine their composition and to ascertain if these had adversely affected patients,” an investigator said.

It will also be probed if any of their victims died because of these ”medicines”, he said.

Police said Mujammil would pose as a doctor and Shikre as medicine shop owner. Shetty was in charge of managing agents who would scout for patients.

Shetty was booked for a similar crime in Hyderabad three years ago and had spent a fortnight in jail, police said.

Police said the fraudsters victimised more than 300 patients across the country. “The gang would demand anywhere between ₹60,000 and ₹3 lakh from patients with a ’guarantee of a full refund’ if the ailment was not cured,” an investigator said.

The patients would be asked to return for a checkup after five or six months, but the gang would by then wrap up their business and flee elsewhere.

The gang has been booked for offences such as cheating by impersonation, cheating and adulteration of drugs.

If convicted of cheating, they could be jailed for up to seven years.

First Published: Sep 01, 2018 00:00 IST