Gujarat firm director held for illegal export of chemical

Mumbai: The director of a Gujarat-based chemical company, Deepak Natwarlal Mehta, 59, was arrested by Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) on Thursday. Mehata is a director of Sam Fine O Chem Ltd. According to the ANC, Mehta was arrested for exporting 400 kg of chemical without the necessary govt permission. The chemical is used as intermediate to make lethal drug called ‘Fentanyl’, a highly-concentrated synthetic opioid similar to morphine.

Azad Maidan unit ANC had on December 27 arrested four persons from Vakola area, Mumbai, and seized 100 kgs chemical 1-Phenethyl 4-piperidobe. Its manufacturing and selling is controlled by government authorities, as it is used as intermediate to make 'Fentanyl. According to ANC, the said quantity of the seized chemical is enough to make the Fentanyl tablets worth Rs6,900 crore in the international markets. The seized chemical was to be exported to Mexico on forged documents to produce Fentanyl.

After the seizure, the ANC registered an offence under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) and under sections of cheating and forgery of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and began investigation. According to the crime branch, the chemical was manufactured in the Sam Fine O Chem Ltd in Rajkot, Gujarat. During the probe, it was revealed the company had already exported 400kgs of the chemical to Cambrex Profarnaco Milano SRL, a company in Italy.

“No permission of central authorities were taken while exporting the chemical and this was sent with hand in gloves with customs officers,” said an officer. After this revelation, the ANC on Thursday registered an offence under relevant sections of the NDPS Act and arrested Mehata from his residence in Borivali. On Friday, he was produced in a court, which remanded him in custody till Monday.

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