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3 held with 19000 bottles

Dec. 6: Sleuths of the directorate of revenue intelligence today seized 19,000 bottles of Phensedyl cough syrup and two cartons of Actindin tablets and arrested three persons transporting the consignment.

Officials of the directorate said they first seized 105 cartons of the cough syrup off an Agartala-bound truck from Calcutta around 3am on NH37 near Beltola. They arrested two persons, Saheb Hussain and Rustam Ali, both from Hoogly district of Bengal.

“Based on a specific tip-off that a banned substance was being transported on a truck (registration number WB 23-A 7099), we stopped the vehicle and found the consignment hidden under some goods meant for a shopping outlet in Agartala. We seized the items and arrested the two,” an official said.

The sleuths stopped another truck bearing registration number WB 23-B 9099 and seized 20 cartons of Phensidyl and two cartons of Actindin tablets. They also arrested one person identified as Mohammad Abbas Khan of Chapra in Bihar.

Phensedyl, which contains a high dose of codeine, is abused by addicts in Bangladesh because of the ban on alcohol.

Police and other law enforcement agencies often seize huge quantities of the cough syrup while being transported to Tripura. According to investigations, the substance is transported from Bengal to Agartala from where it is smuggled out to the neighbouring country.

“We have strong reasons to believe that the consignment would have been smuggled from Tripura to Bangladesh, where Phensedyl is popular among addicts since liquor consumption is banned there,” the official said.

“We will try to divulge details of who booked the consignment and the source of the items from the arrested persons,” he added.

Guwahati has emerged as a transit route for transporting substances like Phensedyl and Corex, which contain a high dose of codeine, by different modes of transport. Huge quantities of such consignments have been seized by the Government Railway Police, the Railway Protection Force and customs and revenue intelligence personnel while being transported by trains, buses and trucks.

“Investigations have revealed that some unscrupulous traders of Tripura are smuggling the cough syrup across the border, where they earn a good amount. While a 100ml bottle of Phensedyl costs around Rs 75 in India, it could be sold for something between Rs 600 and Rs 700 in Bangladesh,” the official said.