Updated: May 4, 2021 3:11:05 am
THE BOMBAY High Court on Monday told BJP MP Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil, who courted controversy last week after he released videos and photographs showing him in a chartered flight before landing at Shirdi airport and unloading boxes of remdesivir, that he should have avoided gimmicks.
“Your client also needs to introspect. Had he not been involved in gimmicks of recording himself and saying that he used his sambandh (contacts) in Delhi to procure injections for people of his constituency… He should not have done that,” the division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice Bhalchandra U Debadwar told Shirish Gupte, the counsel of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Ahmednagar, seeking dismissal of a plea wanting action against him.
Gupte denied allegations of “illegal” and “secret” procurement and distribution by Vikhe-Patil of about 10,000 vials of remdesivir, an anti-viral drug used in the treatment of Covid-19, and said the litigation had damaged his client’s reputation.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Arun Kadu, an agriculturist from Rahuri, Ahmednagar, along with three others through advocate Pradnya S Talekar alleging illegal distribution of anti-viral drug by the member of Parliament.
Talekar said the petitioners had sought to amend the plea to bring forth similar instances “at the behest of other people’s representatives” as referred to in a recent report by The Indian Express, which mentioned that politicians from several parties sold or distributed the drug directly to people after procuring it from the manufacturer, or by dipping into district stocks.
The petitioner sought registration of FIRs against all such politicians.
Gupte told the court that his client sought to intervene in the case, adding the court cannot pass any order without hearing the MP.
Vikhe-Patil’s counsel submitted that his client had never made any specific statement on the number of injections delivered in the social media posts and denied claims made by the petitioners.
Gupte submitted that the applicant had not procured 10,000 vials as claimed by the petitioners, adding that on April 19, nearly 15 boxes containing only 80 vials each (1,200 injections in total) landed at Shirdi Airport. They had been obtained, through a foundation run by the MP, from a manufacturer in Chandigarh while 500 injections came from Pharma Deal, a Pune-based distributor, directly to the civil surgeon, he said.
After the Vikhe-Patil foundation transferred nearly Rs 25.7 lakh to the civil surgeon, the latter deposited the amount with the Pune distributor, Gupte added.
HC will hear the pleas next on May 5, Wednesday.
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