Health Ministry Suspends Joint Drug Controller for Alleged Involvement in Bribery Controversy

Amid the ongoing bribery controversy, the country’s apex drug regulatory authority has suspended joint drug controller Eswara Reddy, has learnt.

In June, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Reddy on charges of accepting bribes for fast-tracking a drug approval.

Reddy, who has been working at the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for the past 23 years, has been suspended until further orders. The order says a subsistence allowance will be paid to Reddy.

He has also served as the drug controller general of India (DCGI) — the chief of CDSCO — from February 2018 to August 2019.

According to the order issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, accessed by “Dr. S. Eswara Reddy, Joint Drug Controller, CDSCO, FDA Bhawan, New Delhi, is deemed to have been suspended with effect from the date of his detention i.e. 20.06.2022 in terms of sub-rule 2 of Rule 10 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control, and Appeal) Rules, 1965, and shall remain under suspension until further orders.”

As per the Central Civil Services rule book, a government servant who is detained in custody under any law providing for preventive detention or a result of a proceeding either on a criminal charge or for his arrest for debt shall, if the period of detention exceeds 48 hours and unless he is already under suspension, be deemed to be under suspension from the date of detention until further orders.

Similarly, the order, dated June 29 reads: “…The said Dr. S. Eswara Reddy, Joint Drug Controller (JDC(I)) was arrested by CBI on 20.6.2022 for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.400000/- (Rupees four lakh).”

“He was produced before Ld. Court of Shri Vishal Gogne, Special Judge, CBI, Rouse Avenue District Court, New Delhi on 21.06.2022 that remanded him to Police Custody. Thereafter the officer was remanded to Judicial Custody on 22.06.2022 by the Court of Shri Chandra Shekhar, Special Judge, CBI, RADC, New Delhi.”

It further stated that “… the said Dr. Eswara Reddy, JDC(I), CDSCO, New Delhi was detained in custody on 20.6.2022 for a period exceeding forty- eight hours.”

The order, signed by Sunita Dhaundiyal (under-secretary), also noted details of the timeline related to the arrest of the CDSCO’s top officer, including the sections under which the officer has been booked by the CBI’s anti-corruption branch.

The order is marked to Reddy and its copy is marked to the joint secretary and director of the drug regulation unit at the ministry of health and family welfare.

The ministry has directed the officials to get a copy of the order signed by Reddy. “The enclosed copy may be arranged to be served on Dr. S. Eswara Reddy, JDC(I) under dated acknowledgment and a copy of the acknowledgment may be sent to the Ministry for the record.”

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