(i) Recent Deaths In the Union Territory of Delhi Due to the
Consumption of Spurious Drugs
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS
AND MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI M.M.
JACOB): Sir, I wish to inform the Honourable Members of this august
House about the recent tragedy in the Union Territory of Delhi which
has so far claimed 199 lives.
At about 4.15 p.m. on 5.11.1991, information was received at
Shalimar Bagh Po-
lice station from the Hindu Rao hospital that one person had been
admitted in the hospital for treatment for poisoning. Another person
in similar condition was admitted at 7:55 p.m. on the same day.
Subsequently, both the person died and inquest proceeding were held by
the Police. Inquiries revealed that both the persons had consumed the
On 6.11.1991 reports from Hindu Rao Hospital were received at
police stations Jahangirpuri, Adarsh Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Ashok Vihar
and Model Town that some residents from their police stations had been
admitted to the hospital for treatment for unknown poisoning.
Inquiries revealed that all of them had consumed an Ayurvedic medicine
called 'Karpoov Asav'.
Inquiries by Delhi Police showed that this 'Karpoov Asav' was
manufactured by a firm called Karnal Pharmacy which had its unit at
Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. The Ghaziabad Police was immediately re-
quested by the Delhi Police to locate the firm and seize all its
products. On the morning of,:, 7th November, 1991, the factory was
sealed by the Delhi Police with the assistance of the local Police and
all the stocks seized. It was found that the unit was running in an
open shed in an unhygienic condition.
Simultaneously all police stations in Delhi were asked to look
for retail outlets and distributors of 'Sura' and impound all bottles
in the market.
The samples of the spurious drug which caused deaths were sent to
the Central Forensic Science Laboratory and the Laboratory of the
Excise Department of Delhi Administration. Both the Laboratories con-
firmed that this 'Karpov Asav' contained methyl alcohol. Three of the
four proprietors of the firm have been arrested alongwith the main
distributors. One of the proprietors is absconding.
So far 199 persons have died and 63 are presently admitted in
hospitals. 77 persons were discharged after treatment and 6,
who were admitted in the hospitals, had left on their own against
The Delhi police have carried out extensive raids and searches in
the Capital resulting the arrest of 93 persons so far. 337 criminal
cases have been registered and 8087 'Sura' bottles seized. The Excise
Department of the Delhi Administration has taken more than 100 samples
from various sources. The Delhi Police and the Excise Department of
Delhi Administration have sealed 13 shops of Ayurvedic medicines.
Inquiries revealed that the delinquent unit, M/s. Karnal
Pharmacy, had earlier been given a manufacturing licence by the Direc-
torate of Ayurvedic & Unani Medicines of the Government of Uttar
Pradesh. Further inquiries show that the licence of the unit was not
renewed after 31st December, 1988. It has also been revealed that in
spite of the unit having no valid manufacturing licence after
31.12.1988, 4,000 litres of potable alcohol was continued to be
allotted to this unit every year by the Excise Department of the
Government of Uttar Pradesh. We have requested the Government of
Uttar Pradesh to let us have all relevant details concerning the
activities of this unit. Their reply is awaited.
An ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 10,000/to next of kin of each deceased
and Rs.5,000/ - to each person rendered blind by the consumption of
this spurious drug, has been sanctioned by the Delhi Administration.
The Delhi Administration has set up a one-Man Commission of Inquiry
under the Chairmanship of Shri Jagdish Chandra, a retired Judge of the
Delhi High Court under the Commission of Inquiry Act. 1952. The
Commission is to inquire into the incident and its terms of reference
include ascertaining the persons responsible for manufacture,
preparation, sale and supply of the spurious drug; negligence if any,
of authorities responsible for checking such drugs and to recommend
measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
The Government is making every endeavour to vigorously pursue the
tion of the cases registered against the persons responsible for the
manufacture and sale of the spurious drug.
The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, provides for certain
regulatory mechanism for the manufacture, distribution and sale of
drugs including Ayurvedic drugs. In order to ensure the standards of
quality, the Act provides for regulation by Drug Inspectors, of the
manufacture of drugs and of their sale, stocking and distribution etc.
The Directorate General of Health Services has issued instructions on
14.11.1991 to all State Drug Controllers to ensure that manufacture of
Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani drug should conform to the laid down
specifications and the Drug Inspectors must carry out in depth
inspections of all manufacturing firms. The Union Ministry of Health
has also issued instructions to the Delhi Administration and to the
Government of Uttar Pradesh that manufacturers, stockists and vendors
of spurious drugs manufactured and sold under the label of Ayurvedic
drugs should be prosecuted vigorously. Instructions have since been
issued to all State Governments that rectified spirit may not be
allowed to be used as a substitute for 'Prasanal', which is one of the
ingredients of 'Karpoor Assav'.
All possible action is being taken by the Government of prevent
recurrence of such incidents in the future. All concerned departments
of the Delhi Administration have been advised to exercise the utmost
vigilance and directed to vigorously enforce the excise laws and to
strictly implement the guidelines of the Union Health Ministry on the
subject. Delhi Administration have also set up a highpowered
committee to monitor the progress of follow up action on raids
conducted by the Enforcement Wing of the Excise Department and the
Drug Controller's Organisation.
I am sure that the Honourable Members would join me in conveying
our sympathies to the bereaved families.(Interruptions)
MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No further clarifications are asked after the
SHRI MADAN LAL KHURANA (South Delhi): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir,
200 people have been killed. Where will we discuss this issue? 200
people are killed here and we cannot ask even a question here.
MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You can choose another forum.
SHRI MADAN LAL KHURANA: Please tell me about It. There is no elected
body in Delhi 200 people have been killed. I have a list of 31
MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Rule is very clear.
SHRI MADAN LAL KHURANA: You have the right to suspend the Rule.
I will ask only two questions. Where should we ask the questions
MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: He cannot by pass the Rule. You can ask for
a discussion under Rule 193. Lot us follow the well-established Rule.
SHRI MADAN LAL KHURANA: Please allow a discussion on this issue.
MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is upto you. You can give a notice.
SHRI MADAN LAL KHURANA: I have already given a notice.