Updated: June 26, 2021 1:17:44 am
The Mumbai Police probing nine “bogus” vaccination camps – eight organised in Mumbai and one in Thane – on Friday said that so far, the names of 14 accused have come up, including six who have been involved in each drive. Of the six, two run Shivam hospital in Mumbai.
While eight FIRs have been registered, 10 people have been arrested in two cases. In all, 2,062 people have been “vaccinated” in these nine camps held between May 25 to June 6 in Borivali, Kandivali, Malad, Andheri, Khar, Parel and Naupada in Thane city.
The police have made public the names of 14 accused, of whom 10 have been arrested.
The investigators said the six persons involved in each drive are Mahendra Singh (39), a former clerk in Malad Medical Association; Sanjay Gupta (29), an event manager; Karim Akbar Ali (19), a student who was involved in transporting the vaccines; Shivraj Pataria (61) and his wife Nita Pataria (60), who run Shivam hospital and dentist Manish Tripathi, who ran a nursing home on rent at Shivam hospital.
Of the six, only Tripathi is yet to be arrested. He had applied for anticipatory bail in Dindoshi sessions court and his plea will come up for hearing on Monday. Tripathi and Pataria reportedly sourced the vaccines in all drives.
Police said Shivam hospital was permitted to act as a private Covid-19 vaccination centre from March 5 to April 28.
It had received 17,100 Covishield and 6,250 Covaxin doses. While it used 16,884 Covishield and 5,942 Covaxin jabs – those vaccinated received CoWin-generated certificates as well – the police are trying to find out what happened to the unused 216 Covishield and 308 Covaxin doses.
“A special investigation team (SIT) headed by Vishal Thakur, DCP (Zone 11), will be investigating these drives and all investigating officers will report to him so the entire network, procurement of vaccine, money flow and roles of all accused could be probed in depth. We appeal to people to approach him if they have been cheated by this gang,” said Vishwas Nangre Patil, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order).
Terming the camps as “bogus”, Patil said that it is yet to be ascertained from where the vaccines have been sourced and prima facie the jabs could be fake.
“One of the arrested accused said they were taught to administer saline water. We suspect some people might have administered saline water but it is yet to be ascertained. We have added IPC Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) to the charges because the ones who got the vaccine will think they have received the first dose and won’t take the first jab again. The accused knew this and compromised the safety of these people,” he added.
The eighth FIR was registered on Friday in connection to a camp held at Naupada in Thane on May 25 for a private insurance company, where 116 people were vaccinated, said senior Inspector Anil Mangale of Naupada police station.
One more FIR is likely to be registered for the ninth drive held in Andheri for Kwan talent company on June 6, where 220 people were vaccinated.
The police said that besides the six involved in each of the nine drives, Rajesh Pandey, a former marketing executive with Kokilaben Ambani hospital, was involved in five of the camps. Two others arrested – Srikant Mane and Seema Ahuja – worked for Cox and Kings as travel agents and had lost their jobs amid the pandemic. They participated in three drives as event managers. Two nursing students – Roshni Patel and Ajit Benvasi – were part of five and seven camps, respectively.
Chandan Singh alias Lalit, Nitin Mode and Gudiya Yadav were involved only in the camp held at Hiranandani Heritage housing society in Kandivali and procured forged certificates by misusing the CoWin app credentials of private hospitals and Covid care centres.
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