No charge framed
A Dhaka court yesterday deferred the hearing on charge framing against Rid Pharmaceuticals' managing director (MD), and four others till February 28 in a case filed for manufacturing adulterated paracetamol syrup.
The court deferred the hearing for the fifth time before it could begin the trial of the case filed against the company for using toxic diethylene glycol in manufacturing paracetamol syrup that caused deaths of 28 children in 2009.
Judge Mohammad Abdul Majid of the Drug Court deferred the date following a petition filed by Mizanur Rahman, MD of Rid Pharma, seeking adjournment on health grounds. Sheuly Rahman, his wife and another accused, however, was present at the court.
The medical certificate mentioned that Mizanur was suffering from a number of ailments and required a month's rest for his recovery.
Earlier, on September 6, 2010 the court deferred the hearing on charge framing for 14 days as both Mizanur and Sheuly did not appear before the court due to illness.
The three other accused are Abdul Gani, a director, Mahbubul Islam and Enamul Haque, two pharmacists of the company.
In 2009, Brahmanbaria police took more than nine months to submit reports on execution of arrest warrants against the three.
The case against Rid Pharma reminds us of the fate of four similar cases in 1992.
The Directorate of Drug Administration (DDA) in December 1992 proved that paracetamol syrups manufactured by five companies -- Adflame Pharmaceutical Ltd, Polychem Laboratories Ltd, BCI (Bangladesh) Ltd, Rex Pharmaceutical, and City Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Ltd -- contained a lethal chemical, diethylene glycol.
It took an entire year for the DDA to file the cases in November 1993, of which two are still pending at the High Court (HC).
Most of the accused in those cases fled the country. Even the ones detained, managed bail and continued deferring the trial on different grounds until they could persuade the HC in 1994 to temporarily halt the criminal proceedings against them in those four cases.
The HC stay on proceedings related to Adflame Pharmaceutical was vacated in 2007 after 13 years and the papers went missing, mysteriously at the Dhaka Drug Court.
The Adflame case reopened after The Daily Star carried an investigative report. The trial is still moving at snail's pace and three of the accused are yet to be arrested after so many years.