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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Mumbai: Four arrested for illegal vaccination drive at Kandivali housing society

The Kandivali Police, however, said there is no clarity on whether the vaccines administered to 390 people from the housing society on May 30 were genuine or not.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: June 18, 2021 8:32:24 pm
The housing society members approached the police after the hospitals denied being part of the vaccination drive. (Representational image)

Four men were arrested on Thursday and Friday for allegedly conducting an unauthorised vaccination drive at Hiranandani Heritage housing society on SV road in Kandivali (West) without following the laid down procedure by the government.

The Kandivali police, however, said there is no clarity on whether the vaccines administered to 390 people in the society on May 30 were genuine.
Dilip Sawant, Additional Commissioner of Police (North Region), said: “Till now, we can say that vaccines were not procured from authorised sources. A probe is on to find out if vaccines were genuine.”

“We have, however, booked the accused under IPC section pertaining to adulteration of drugs, as the vaccines that were administered did not have any seal on them,” said DCP (Zone 11) Vishal Thakur.

Those arrested have been identified as Mahendra Pratap Singh (39), a member of the Malad Medical Association who organised the vaccination drive; Sanjay Gupta (29), an event manager from SP events who managed the camp, both arrested on Thursday and Chandan Singh alias Lalit (32) and Nitin Mode (32), arrested on Friday, both working for private hospitals whose names were mentioned in the forged provisional vaccine certificates generated by the CoWin app.

The police said Nitin and Chandan used the user ID and password of these hospitals to get provisional certificates from CoWin. But details like location, date and time when the vaccines were administered did not match on these certificates.

A marketing executive, Rajesh Pandey, working with Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital is an wanted accused in the case, said an officer. The services of Pandey, who is yet to be arrested, were terminated by the hospital after his name surfaced in the probe.

The officer added that Pandey got in touch with people from the housing society, following which Mahendra Singh organised the drive.

Besides Pandey, another wanted accused, Karim Akbar Ali (21), has been traced to Madhya Pradesh. “Ali brought the vaccines,” said Babasaheb Salunke, senior Inspector of Kandivali police station.

Another doctor who helped in procuring the vaccines is also wanted in the case. While there was no doctor at the vaccination camp, nursing students administered the jabs.

Investigating officer, Inspector Deepshika Ware, said that all accused have been booked on charges of cheating, impersonation, adulteration of drugs, forgery and disobeying rules and regulations under IPC, IT Act and Epidemic Diseases Act. One of the residents is made complainant in the case.

All the four arrested men were on Friday remanded in police custody by magistrate court till June 25. The police have seized around Rs 9 lakh from Mahendra’s bank account.

The matter came to light on June 12 when the housing society members did not get their CoWin certificates after the vaccination camp. Those who did get, their certificates had wrong details. Those jabbed at the camp also did not suffer any side effects post vaccination. The society approached the police after the hospitals – whose names were mentioned in the CoWin-generated certificates – denied being a part of the vaccination drive.
“The accused told us that they have conducted similar drives at nine places,” said Sawant. One of the drives was held for film producer Ramesh Taurani, who conducted a camp for over 300 of his employees. Taurani has not filed a police complaint yet.

*Tips Offcial Statement*

Bollywood film producer Ramesh Taurani, who heads Tips Industries Ltd, got 365 of his employees vaccinated on May 30 and June 3, however they are yet to receive a certificate.

Speaking about the same, Ramesh Taurani said, “Yes, we are still waiting for the certificates and when my office people contacted him (Sanjay Gupta from SP Events), he said it will come by this Saturday (June 12), we got 356 people vaccinated and paid Rs 1,200 per dose plus GST. But more than the money, now we are worried about what was given to us. Is it genuine Covishield or any saline water?” he added, “We were told we would get the vaccination certificate from Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital [in Mumbai].”

Written complaint at Versova

Matchbox pictures, a private company has given a written complaint to Versova police station alleging a vaccination drive was conducted by the same accused, arrested by Kandivali police, on May 29 for 151 of their employees. They too did not receive certificates. A police officer from Versova police station confirmed the development.

Illegal vaccine drive at architectural college

Mumbai: The Borivali police on Friday wrote to the assistant municipal commissioner of R Central ward to inquire about a vaccination drive that had taken place in an architectural college in Borivali (West). The police said that same accused arrested in the Kandivali unauthorised vaccination case conducted a camp at the college on June 3 when 213 people, mostly staffers, were vaccinated. “We want to find out if the vaccines administered were genuine and whether all procedures laid down by the government were followed,” said an officer from Borivali police. Incidentally, the college has not approached the police yet and hence, suo motu action has been initiated.

“Apart from architectural college the accused have conducted another drive somewhere in Borivali and one more somewhere in Thane,” said a Kandivali police officer.

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