Updated: May 19, 2021 7:02:38 pm
Two people have been arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district for offering Covid-19 vaccination slots at a charge of Rs 800.
The incident came to light following a complaint made by district immunisation officer, Arvind Bhatt, who learnt of a message being circulated on WhatsApp groups offering vaccination slots at Rs 800 for those between 18-44 years of age.
Two youths identified as Dinesh Kalme (29) and Narendra Yadav (21) first struck on the idea after they could easily book slots for themselves and got vaccinated last week, Ganj police station in-charge Praveen Kumar said.
Using high-speed internet of the shop where they worked, the two use to try all day to book slots on CoWin for those willing to pay money.
The two got caught after a message they had drafted as an advertisement with a link attached allowing people to get added to their WhatsApp group ‘Vaccination Slots Available” reached the immunisation officer.
“It was fairly simple. People willing to pay for a slot would get added to the group and give their identification cards. The duo would then book slots for them after accepting payment through Phone Pay and such modes. We are going through their account details to ascertain how many people paid up to them for this service,” Kumar told.
According to the police, the accused took advantage of vaccination shortage where limited slots are available and nearly all slots get occupied with the 10-15 minutes of the CoWin portal opening up. The two have been booked under section 51 of the Disaster Management Act along with relevant sections of the Epidemic Act.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Additional SP, Shradha Joshi of Betul police said, “The portal and vaccination is absolutely free of charge as mandated by the government. Since the duo had better knowledge of the internet and access to high-speed internet they began misusing it for making money and have been arrested.”
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