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Indian Jailed In Uzbekistan For 68 Child Deaths

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An Indian national has been sentenced to 20 years in jail by a court in Uzbekistan for his involvement in the deaths of up to 68 children who consumed contaminated cough syrup produced by a pharmaceutical company in Uttar Pradesh.

Singh Raghvendra Pratar, an executive director at Quramax Medical, a firm distributing medicines manufactured by India's Marion Biotech in Uzbekistan, received the longest prison sentence, lasting for a period of 20 years, Reuters has reported.

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The court also sentenced 22 others, with penalties ranging from two to 20 years, for various offenses including tax evasion, selling substandard or counterfeit medicines, abuse of office, negligence, forgery, and bribery.

The court ordered compensation of 80,000 USD (1 billion Uzbek sums) to be paid to each family of the deceased children and designated compensation for four other children who suffered disabilities. The compensation will be collected from seven of the convicts.

The incident involved the cough syrup Dok-1, manufactured by Marion Biotech, which was associated with the deaths of 68 children in Uzbekistan in December 2022. Following the incident, Indian drug authorities launched a probe, leading to the cancellation of Marion Biotech's manufacturing license by Uttar Pradesh authorities in March 2023.

Three employees of Marion Biotech were arrested, and a lookout notice was issued for two directors. The investigation found samples of the cough syrup to be adulterated and not of standard quality. The sentencing of the Indian national in Uzbekistan followed a 7-month-long court process.

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