June 24, 2021 12:55:53 am
A fourth FIR was registered on Wednesday against a group of persons, already in the custody of Kandivali police, along with a few others for allegedly conducting an unauthorised Covid-19 vaccination drive at a college in Borivali (west) on June 3 when they vaccinated 213 people.
Before this, FIRs were registered against the group at Kandivali police station on June 17, Versova police station on June 19 and Khar police station on June 21 for conducting unauthorised vaccination drives as part of which they administered first dose of what they claimed was Covishield vaccine to residents of a housing society along with employees of two private companies. In all, they are said to have given the jab to 960 persons in these four drives.
Kandivali police said that during questioning, the group confessed to have conducted five more drives.
Confirming the development, Sudhir Kelkar, senior police inspector of Borivali police station, said, “We have registered an FIR under IPC sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 420 (cheating), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and section 52 (false claim) of the Disaster Management Act, 27 (penalty for sale in contravention of the act) and 28A (not keeping documents) under the Drugs and Cosmetics act.”
The complaint was filed by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai’s (MCGM) Dr Balasaheb Kavle after the Borivali police wrote to the civic body apprising it of the vaccination drive.
The drive was conducted on June 3 for staffers and trustees of Aditya Architecture College. “They did not receive any certificates after the vaccination drive. Also, there was no doctor to check on them when the vaccines were being administered. We did not receive any complaints from those vaccinated about experiencing any side-effects. We will find out if the vaccines are genuine or not,” said Kelkar.
The Borivali police said that like in the previous cases, Rajesh Pandey, Mahinder Singh and Sanjay Gupta have been named
in the latest FIR. The police have also mentioned the names of two high-ranking officials from the college management who got in touch with the accused for the vaccination process but failed to take a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) from a hospital. Two to three staffers from a private hospital in Kandivali (west) have also been named in the FIR.
Meanwhile, the Kandivali police on Wednesday arrested the sixth accused in the unauthorised vaccination drive case. The accused, a 23-year-old woman, is suspected to have helped the accused in procuring forged certificates.
Raising awareness among locals about fake drives: BMC
Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said the department was raising awareness among locals about off-site vaccination camps. “People should inform local BMC authorities if a camp is being organised; at least a ward official can check the credentials of the vaccinator. Societies and corporate offices must sign an MoU before organising such camps. These are basic safeguards that can prevent fake drives,” Gomare said.
She added that Serum Institute of India (SII), manufacturers of Covishield, are likely to respond by Thursday about the batch number and details of the vials used in the Kandivali housing society vaccination drive, which took place in May-end.
Civic officials investigating the case said it is possible the accused refilled empty vaccine vials. “In that case even if we confirm the batch number, we won’t be able to know whether the vaccine was real or spurious,” a civic official said. BMC is conducting a detailed inquiry into the matter and has started recording statements of those involved in the Kandivali and the Borivali drives.
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