Updated: April 21, 2021 7:37:54 am
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is caught at the centre of a controversy after a photograph of his nephew, Tanmay Fadnavis, in his early 20s, taking his second Covid-19 vaccine shot, was widely circulated on social media on Monday.
Fadnavis, in a statement, identified Tanmay as a “distant relative”. A close family source said Tanmay is the grandson of former MLA Shobhatai Fadnavis, who is the ex-chief minister’s aunt.
The photograph, which surfaced on Monday, was shared by Tanmay on Instagram, and showed him getting vaccinated at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Nagpur. He has since deleted the post.
NCI Director Shailesh Joglekar confirmed that the youth had received the vaccine. “Tanmay Fadnavis took his second dose at the NCI. He had taken his first dose at the Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai; under which provision he got his first dose is not known to us. He showed us the certificate of the first dose, so we gave him the second dose at our centre,” he told The Indian Express.
When contacted, Dr Balkrishna Adsul, Dean, Seven Hills Hospital, said the hospital had vaccinated 1.30 lakh people so far, and it was impossible to verify each person’s credentials.
“It is possible he registered on the CoWIN portal as a healthcare or frontline worker. We are immunising those who are pre-registered. It is not possible to verify each person as there are 3,500 vaccinations in a day,” he said, adding that he did not know Tanmay personally.
In his statement on Monday, Fadnavis said: “Tanmay Fadnavis is my distant relative. I have no idea under which criteria he received his Covid dose. If it has been taken as per the guidelines, then there should be no objection to it. But if it is in violation of guidelines, it is completely improper. My wife and daughter have also not received vaccination because they don’t qualify for it yet, under the existing criteria. I am of the firm opinion that everybody must follow the rules.”
Tanmay’s father, Abhijit Fadnavis, and grandmother, Shobhatai Fadnavis, did not respond to calls or text messages.
While Tanmay has since deleted the photograph of him taking the vaccine, his Instagram account has multiple photographs with the former Chief Minister at a family function in Mul, in Chandrapur district – the Fadnavis family’s hometown.
“Tanmay is about 22 years and has just completed his engineering degree from Nagpur. He has also done a course in acting,” said a family source.
At present, the Covid-19 vaccination is open only to those aged 45 and above. On Monday, the Centre announced that those above 18 years of age will be eligible to get vaccinated from May 1.
Targeting the former Chief Minister, Maharashtra PCC chief Nana Patole questioned how the youth had got the vaccine.
“It is blatant misuse of power and position. When the vaccine is for specific categories, how could he get it, especially when it is in short supply,” said NCP minister Nawab Malik. He said the government should probe the matter.
Defending Fadnavis, BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhyay said: “If he had to misuse power, he would have facilitated the vaccine for his wife and daughter… Some distant relative has taken the vaccine and it’s being blamed on Fadnavis, which is very unfair.”
– With ENS, Mumbai
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