Updated: June 17, 2021 7:07:39 am
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra government to conduct a detailed inquiry into the alleged supply of anti-Covid drugs by MLA Zeeshan Siddique and actor Sonu Sood, in response to requests on social media, noting that allocation of such drugs, “available in scarce quantities in the country,” was solely at the discretion of the Central government, which distributes it to the states.
“These people (celebrities and politicians) project themselves as some kind of messiahs without verifying if the drugs were spurious or if the supply was illegal,” a division bench of Justice Sunil P Deshmukh and Justice Girish S Kulkarni said while hearing a clutch of PILs alleging improper Covid-19 management in Maharashtra.
“It is very easy for anyone to go to social media and say that I am the person to come for your help. It is not a good situation. What would be the public perception? While the government is doing everything for the procurement and at the same time there is a parallel agency? We are leaving it to your conscience to examine the role of these two,” the court told Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who was representing the state government.
The court had earlier directed the state government to proceed with a probe to find out how some politicians and film personalities procured essential drugs and injections for Covid-19 treatment for people.
On Wednesday, Kumbhakoni informed the court that a criminal case has been registered at the Mazgaon Metropolitan Magistrate Court against a Charitable Trust called BDR Foundation under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and its trustees as they were allegedly supplying vials of anti-viral drug remdesivir to Siddique despite not having license for the same.
Four directors of BDR Pharmaceuticals have also been booked, he added. However, no case has been registered against the MLA as the probe so far found that he had merely diverted the citizens who approached him to the Trust, he said.
Kumbhakoni further submitted that Sood had received the drugs from pharmacies situated inside Lifeline Care Hospital in Goregaon (E), who got it through Cipla, adding the probe is still on into the matter.
The bench asked the state government if the action taken against the Trust so far was sufficient, adding why it should not probe further the roles played by the celebrities concerned.
“In both these cases, we would expect the government to scrutinise their actions and seriously examine their roles,” the court said.
The court will hear the PILs next on June 25.
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