Mumbai: Fake COVID-19 vaccine racket suspected of using distilled water
The Mumbai Police has launched an investigation into a fake COVID-19 vaccination racket, where beneficiaries are suspected to have been injected with distilled water instead of the vaccine. Reportedly, a special investigation team (SIT) led by DCP Vishal Thakur will head the investigation. The police also informed the Bombay High Court on Thursday that over 2,000 people received fake vaccines at nine private camps.
What was the vaccine scam?
Reportedly, 390 residents of the Hiranandani Heritage Club in Kandivali (West) were administered what they believed were COVID-19 vaccines on May 30, 2021. The beneficiaries collectively paid Rs. 4,56,000 (Rs. 1,260 per dose). However, the team leading the vaccination drive did not have laptops. Only 120 beneficiaries received vaccination certificates and they had the names of different hospitals on their certificates.
Empty vaccine vials were procured from private hospital for scam
An inquiry into these hospitals revealed that there was no agreement with them to conduct a vaccination drive. Sources informed India Today that the group under investigation is suspected to have procured 38 vaccine vials from a private hospital in Mumbai. A pharmaceutical company misused these vials to conduct fake vaccination drives at several places, including Hiranandani Heritage housing society, they said.
Company employees administered Covishield; others given distilled water
The employees of the pharma company, however, were administered original doses of Covishield. The others are suspected to have been injected with distilled water. This does not harm people. The police suspect that one Dr. Manish Tripathi is involved in the fake vaccination racket. He has applied for anticipatory bail at the sessions court (to be heard on June 25).
4 FIRs registered with Mumbai Police over fake vaccinations
A fourth FIR was registered in connection with the vaccination fraud with the Borivali Police on Wednesday. The police have filed a case under Section 308 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
2,000+ people administered fake vaccines across Mumbai
Apart from the 390 residents at Hiranandani Heritage housing society, 514 people in Borivali, nearly 365 persons at a drive organized for employees of Tips Industries at Khar, 207 people at the Podar Education Society in Parel, 30 at Malad West, among others were given fake vaccines. This information was revealed to the Bombay High Court by Chief Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare on Thursday.
Court asks state government, civic body to formulate guidelines
The HC asked the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to set up specific policy/guidelines to prevent such fake vaccination drives in the future. Thakare also submitted a "confidential" status report on the investigations to the court.