This old photo from the family album shows mother Laily clapping so that her infant son Rajib smiles for the camera. A year and a half later, Rajib died after he was given toxic paracetamol syrup. Photo: Courtesy of Laily Begum.
Three officials of Adflame Pharmaceuticals have been awarded 10-year rigorous imprisonment for manufacturing adulterated drug that killed 76 children in the 1990s.
Judge Abdur Rashid of Dhaka Drug Court also fined the three convicts Tk 2 lakh each.
The convicts are Adflame director Helena Pasha, manager Mizanur Rahman and production officer Nigendra Nath Bala.
The court, however, acquitted two other accused – Noman and Afsar Pasha – saying that the plaintiff did not mention their designations in the case.
While delivering the verdict, the judge said the convicts had committed crimes against humanity. So, it is better to award them 10 years’ imprisonment, the maximum punishment under Drug (control) Ordinance, 1982, he added.
Later, the court sent Helena, 75, and Mizanur, 68, to jail as they were present at the courtroom during the judgement.
The other convict, Nigendra Nath, remains absconding since the case was filed in 1992.
The punishment of Nigendra Nath will be effective from the day of his arrest or surrender, the court said.
Terming the verdict “expected”, Public Prosecutor Shaheen Ahmed Khan said, "We are happy as the court awarded the three officials the highest punishment”.
Law enforcers take Adflame Pharmaceuticals director Helena Pasha to jail after a court on Tuesday awarded her along with two others to a 10-year rigorous imprisonment for manufacturing adulterated drug that killed 76 children in the 1990s. Photo: TV grab
He came up with the reaction while talking to reporters at the court premises.
Until 1991, complaints were filed with the government relating to the death of as many as 76 children from acute renal failure after taking “Flammodol”, paracetamol syrup produced by Adflame. The medicine was tested positive for deadly industrial chemical diethylene glycol.
The then drug superintendent, Abul Khayer Chowdhury, filed the case against the five on December 19, 1992.
The case had been stalled since 1994 following an order of the High Court. The trial resumed after November 11, 2009 following an investigation by The Daily Star and it took more than four and a half years for the case to reach the climax.
The case against manufacturing company Adflame was one of the four that sued separate pharmaceuticals. Three other manufacturers accused of producing the same adulterated paracetamol syrup were Polychem Laboratories Ltd, BCI (Bangladesh) Ltd, and Rex Pharmaceuticals.
The fifth pharmaceutical -- City Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Ltd -- was not prosecuted apparently for having a close connection with the then ruling BNP.