Remdesivir case: Seriously examine Sonu Sood's role, orders Bombay HC
Sonu Sood, who allegedly helped several during the pandemic, has angered the Bombay High Court. Reportedly, the court has asked the Maharashtra government to "seriously examine" and put a detailed inquiry in place against Sood and MLA Zeeshan Siddique. The court took a note of several social media posts that suggested that the duo was distributing COVID-19 drugs, which were "available in scarce quantities."
'They project themselves as some kind of messiahs'
During a hearing of PILs that blamed the state government for poor COVID-19 management, Justices Sunil P Deshmukh and Girish S Kulkarni highlighted this development. They said that celebrities and politicians like Sood and Siddique are running "a parallel agency" and that they "project themselves as some kind of messiahs without verifying if the drugs were spurious or if the supply was illegal."
This is why the two are facing legal fire
This comes after Maharashtra government submitted that a criminal case has been filed against one BDR Foundation, for supplying Remdesivir to Siddique, who in turn, gave it to those asking for it. They had no licence to supply the same. At the hearing, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, state government's counsel, said that the case has been registered in Mazgaon Metropolitan Magistrate Court.
However, no case has been filed against Siddique
Four directors of the BDR Pharmaceuticals were booked too, he informed. But, no case has been filed against Siddique because he simply diverted the anti-viral vials to those asking for it, Kumbhakoni said. Meanwhile, Sood Charity Foundation is being probed, said the state counsel, adding that the drugs, manufactured by Cipla, that were supplied by Sood's organization came from Goregaon's Life Line Medicare Hospital.
Supplied drugs from Sood's NGO not part of government's quota
The supplied drugs, however, weren't a part of government's quota, the state added. Noting this, the court said, "It's easy for anyone to go to social media and say that I'm the person to come for your help. What would be the public perception? While the government is doing everything for the procurement and at the same time there is a parallel agency?"
Both were dealing directly with the public, the court noted
"In both situations, the personalities (Sood and Siddique) were directly dealing with the public at large. Was there any reasonable basis for the common-man to know the drugs were available with either BDR Foundation or Lifeline without them?," Justice Kulkarni said in his observations.
Next hearing scheduled for June 25
The court ended its hearing by asking the state government to "scrutinize their actions" and investigate the situation. "Your first approach doesn't seem to be correct. We leave it to your good conscience and good wisdom to examine the role of these two persons and let us know," the bench wrapped up. The next hearing has been scheduled for June 25.