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Rid Pharma’s syrup killed 28 kids: All the 5 accused acquitted

Dear Editor:
It is because of negligence or deliberate flaws done by the investigating officers in filing the case that all the five accused in Rid Pharma paracetamol syrup case were acquitted.
A large number of children died at Shishu Hospital at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka on 24 July 2009 due to kidney failure after intake of the paracetamol syrup manufactured by Rid Pharma based at Brahmanbaria. It was learnt from the charge sheet that at least 28 children died in Dhaka, Comilla and Brahmanbaria after taking this syrup. Md Shafiqul Islam then drug superintendent filed a case with the Dhaka Drug Court on August 10, 2009 against these five people. It was stated in the FIR that the Rid Pharmaceuticals manufactures spurious and toxic syrup instead of Rid suspension. But the investigator Shafiqul Islam in the charge sheet submitted to the court mentioned that chemical tests could not trace the presence of the poisonous Diethylene glycol in the drug. The paracetamol was simply of low quality, he said.
M Atoar Rahman, Judge of Dhaka Drug Court and special judge’s court pronounced the judgment on 28 November, 2016. He pointed out that the accused could not be convicted due to the negligence of Drug Administration and its immaturity, lack of skill and inefficiency in presenting the case before the court in the proper procedure.
The Judge observed in the verdict that the prosecution failed to prove the charges against the pharmaceutical company due to the ‘inability and inefficiency’ of the investigation officer of the case. The court mentioned that the plaintiff and the investigation officer did not follow proper procedure in submitting the seizure list and the results of the chemical tests. “The fact that he did not take necessary steps for filing the case shows his inability and inefficiency.”
The acquitted accused are: Rid Pharmaceutical’s Managing Director Mizanur Rahman, his wife and Director of Rid Pharma Sheuli Rahman, Director Abdul Gani, pharmacists Mahbubul Islam and Enamul Huq.
The court started the trial of the five accused including the Rid Pharma owner Mizanur Rahman on March 9, 2011 on the charge of manufacturing and marketing spurious paracetamol. Five prosecution witnesses including Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital Prof Dr AR Khan, the hospital’s Deputy Director HSK Alam, Drug Administration Assistant Director Md Altaf Hossain and the directorate’s Drug Testing Lab Analyst Md Abu Bakar Siddik testified before the drug court in the case. 
On July 22, 2009, the Drug Administration sealed off Rid’s factory in BSCIC area of Brahmanbaria district following the death of children who took the drug. On July 29, 2009, a probe committee formed by the government placed its report that found the presence of poisonous diethylene glycol in the paracetamol syrup of the company. Rid Pharma allegedly used diethylene glycol, meant for tannery and rubber industries, instead of propylene glycol as diethylene glycol costs Tk 200 per litre while propylene glycol costs Tk 1,100. Later, the government banned two drugs of Rid Pharma — Ridaplex (vitamin B-complex syrup) and Temset (paracetamol suspension) for their sub-standard quality and harmful effects on public health.
Nuzhat Hasnain
New Eskaton, Dhaka

Comment

Dear Editor:
It is because of negligence or deliberate flaws done by the investigating officers in filing the case that all the five accused in Rid Pharma paracetamol syrup case were acquitted.
A large number of children died at Shishu Hospital at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka on 24 July 2009 due to kidney failure after intake of the paracetamol syrup manufactured by Rid Pharma based at Brahmanbaria. It was learnt from the charge sheet that at least 28 children died in Dhaka, Comilla and Brahmanbaria after taking this syrup. Md Shafiqul Islam then drug superintendent filed a case with the Dhaka Drug Court on August 10, 2009 against these five people. It was stated in the FIR that the Rid Pharmaceuticals manufactures spurious and toxic syrup instead of Rid suspension. But the investigator Shafiqul Islam in the charge sheet submitted to the court mentioned that chemical tests could not trace the presence of the poisonous Diethylene glycol in the drug. The paracetamol was simply of low quality, he said.
M Atoar Rahman, Judge of Dhaka Drug Court and special judge’s court pronounced the judgment on 28 November, 2016. He pointed out that the accused could not be convicted due to the negligence of Drug Administration and its immaturity, lack of skill and inefficiency in presenting the case before the court in the proper procedure.
The Judge observed in the verdict that the prosecution failed to prove the charges against the pharmaceutical company due to the ‘inability and inefficiency’ of the investigation officer of the case. The court mentioned that the plaintiff and the investigation officer did not follow proper procedure in submitting the seizure list and the results of the chemical tests. “The fact that he did not take necessary steps for filing the case shows his inability and inefficiency.”
The acquitted accused are: Rid Pharmaceutical’s Managing Director Mizanur Rahman, his wife and Director of Rid Pharma Sheuli Rahman, Director Abdul Gani, pharmacists Mahbubul Islam and Enamul Huq.
The court started the trial of the five accused including the Rid Pharma owner Mizanur Rahman on March 9, 2011 on the charge of manufacturing and marketing spurious paracetamol. Five prosecution witnesses including Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital Prof Dr AR Khan, the hospital’s Deputy Director HSK Alam, Drug Administration Assistant Director Md Altaf Hossain and the directorate’s Drug Testing Lab Analyst Md Abu Bakar Siddik testified before the drug court in the case. 
On July 22, 2009, the Drug Administration sealed off Rid’s factory in BSCIC area of Brahmanbaria district following the death of children who took the drug. On July 29, 2009, a probe committee formed by the government placed its report that found the presence of poisonous diethylene glycol in the paracetamol syrup of the company. Rid Pharma allegedly used diethylene glycol, meant for tannery and rubber industries, instead of propylene glycol as diethylene glycol costs Tk 200 per litre while propylene glycol costs Tk 1,100. Later, the government banned two drugs of Rid Pharma — Ridaplex (vitamin B-complex syrup) and Temset (paracetamol suspension) for their sub-standard quality and harmful effects on public health.
Nuzhat Hasnain
New Eskaton, Dhaka

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Laundered money should be brought back

Dear Editor:
For about two hundred years the colonial British government ruled undivided India. During that time they took away a lot of wealth and properties from this subcontinent to their own country. During centuries of oppressive and exploitative rule, plunder and drain of wealth from undivided India to Britain were massive. According to one estimate, the amount comes to around GB £ 600 trillion. Many scholars including Dadabhai Naoroji have analysed the drain of wealth. These are approximate calculation made on the basis of sound reason.
Not only from India, the British rulers took away wealth and properties from those countries where they ruled and today’s affluent England is the result of extensive plundering. The British did not establish any property in India. In a word it bears a sign of their patriotism.
But it is a matter of deep regret that from Bangladesh thousands of crore taka are being laundered abroad every year. There are a huge number of Bangladeshi-owned luxury palaces, large duplex apartments and a lot of savings in foreign banks whose money have been laundered illegally by means of evasion. Thus capital flight or large-scale exodus of financial assets and capital occurs.
There is allegation that many doctors of Bangladesh, in the name of treatment through various fraud and deceit have established second home in foreign lands taking a large amount of money from the patients. They are also saving money in different banks of abroad earning from this country. From the money-laundering the garment businessmen are the highest position.
As a consequence, Bangladesh ranks 26th in terms of illicit financial outflows, which come from tax dodging, crime and corruption. As much as $5.6 billion siphoned out during 2004-2013.This is around 15 percent of the country’s national budget and almost 3 percent of the gross domestic product.
Political uncertainty, corruption and weak internal investment climate are the main reasons behind the high illicit outflow. The bottom reason is corruption. Unless corruption is curbed, illicit financial flow will continue.   
Recently the chairman of the NBR has disclosed to the parliamentary committee of finance ministry that a garment businessman has exported 297 containers full of readymade garments, but not a single dollar came to the country against the exported garments.
Garment is the most important article among articles exported from Bangladesh. Our readymade garments are bought by different countries of the world. The workers of readymade garments __who are mostly underprivileged women__ make them in exchange for very little wage which the factory owners export to different countries and earn foreign currencies. But it is learnt from newspaper reports that most of the garment owners do not bring the money in the country. Most of them have made second home in Malaysia, Dubai and Canada. They have deposited the foreign currencies in different banks of abroad which is very harmful for the country. Yet the owners are getting bonded wire-house opportunity and tax rebate and cash incentive.
In this regard, Chairman of the parliamentary committee Dr Abdur Razzak said it is painful that in the matter of tax-deceiving and money-laundering through under-invoicing-over-invoicing in the matter of import-export no step was taken against even one person within seven years.
. In the opinion of the experts, the matter should be investigated jointly by the Bangladesh Bank and Customs department. It most important to note that, the laundered money have to be brought back to Bangladesh.
Iqbal Hossain
Shankar, Dhaka.

Comment

Dear Editor:
For about two hundred years the colonial British government ruled undivided India. During that time they took away a lot of wealth and properties from this subcontinent to their own country. During centuries of oppressive and exploitative rule, plunder and drain of wealth from undivided India to Britain were massive. According to one estimate, the amount comes to around GB £ 600 trillion. Many scholars including Dadabhai Naoroji have analysed the drain of wealth. These are approximate calculation made on the basis of sound reason.
Not only from India, the British rulers took away wealth and properties from those countries where they ruled and today’s affluent England is the result of extensive plundering. The British did not establish any property in India. In a word it bears a sign of their patriotism.
But it is a matter of deep regret that from Bangladesh thousands of crore taka are being laundered abroad every year. There are a huge number of Bangladeshi-owned luxury palaces, large duplex apartments and a lot of savings in foreign banks whose money have been laundered illegally by means of evasion. Thus capital flight or large-scale exodus of financial assets and capital occurs.
There is allegation that many doctors of Bangladesh, in the name of treatment through various fraud and deceit have established second home in foreign lands taking a large amount of money from the patients. They are also saving money in different banks of abroad earning from this country. From the money-laundering the garment businessmen are the highest position.
As a consequence, Bangladesh ranks 26th in terms of illicit financial outflows, which come from tax dodging, crime and corruption. As much as $5.6 billion siphoned out during 2004-2013.This is around 15 percent of the country’s national budget and almost 3 percent of the gross domestic product.
Political uncertainty, corruption and weak internal investment climate are the main reasons behind the high illicit outflow. The bottom reason is corruption. Unless corruption is curbed, illicit financial flow will continue.   
Recently the chairman of the NBR has disclosed to the parliamentary committee of finance ministry that a garment businessman has exported 297 containers full of readymade garments, but not a single dollar came to the country against the exported garments.
Garment is the most important article among articles exported from Bangladesh. Our readymade garments are bought by different countries of the world. The workers of readymade garments __who are mostly underprivileged women__ make them in exchange for very little wage which the factory owners export to different countries and earn foreign currencies. But it is learnt from newspaper reports that most of the garment owners do not bring the money in the country. Most of them have made second home in Malaysia, Dubai and Canada. They have deposited the foreign currencies in different banks of abroad which is very harmful for the country. Yet the owners are getting bonded wire-house opportunity and tax rebate and cash incentive.
In this regard, Chairman of the parliamentary committee Dr Abdur Razzak said it is painful that in the matter of tax-deceiving and money-laundering through under-invoicing-over-invoicing in the matter of import-export no step was taken against even one person within seven years.
. In the opinion of the experts, the matter should be investigated jointly by the Bangladesh Bank and Customs department. It most important to note that, the laundered money have to be brought back to Bangladesh.
Iqbal Hossain
Shankar, Dhaka.

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