The Mumbai Police arrested 10 accused in an ongoing investigation on unauthorized vaccination drives conducted in Mumbai.
The bank account of the main accused out of the 8 arrested has been frozen. It is reported that eight more unauthorized camps were organized by the accused.
Gudiya Yadav, one of the accused was arrested by police in Kandivali, her involvement in all the nine unauthorized vaccination drives will be investigated. She was a contractual employee at the Nesco vaccination center.
She has an allegation against her for stealing her CoWin ID and password of the Nesco center which she reportedly used for the unauthorized vaccination camps.
The Kandivali Police arrested the founders of the Shivam Hospital over allegations of supplying fake vaccines to the Hiranandani Heritage Society situated in Kandivali.
On May 30, 2021, a vaccination drive was conducted at the Hiranandani Heritage Society situated in Kandivali. The vaccination drive was held for 390 residents of the society.
Along with the residents of the society, their house help, drivers, domestic help, and security guards were also vaccinated. The residents were told their vaccination certificates will reach in three to four days.
According to the residents, they paid around 5 lakh (approximately Rs 1,260 for each dose)” to Rajesh Pandey and Sanjay Gupta, the duo claimed that they represent the leading hospitals, including the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) and the Nanavati Hospital.
On June 8, 2021, the residents of Hiranandani Heritage society received their vaccination certificates. However, they noticed the date and the hospital name on the certificate were erroneous.
Their vaccination status on the CoWin website showed ‘yet to receive their first dose’. The “not for sale” sign on the vials and the vaccination team not having their laptops made the residents suspect the authenticity of the drive.
On June 16, the residents of the Hiranandani Heritage Society filed a complaint with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mumbai Police.
After the investigation by the deputy municipal commissioner (DMC), it was found that the vaccination drive conducted in the society was unauthorized and was not attended by a medical officer.
Kokilaben Hospital stated that Rajesh Pandey was an employee of the hospital, however, he conducted the vaccination drive illegally and was involved in fraudulent activity. Nanavati Hospital denied involvement.
On June 18, Ramesh Taurani, the founder of Tips Industrial Limited, complained that 365 of his employees had received the jabs on May 30 and June 3.
However, they are yet to receive the certificates. A similar complaint was also reported by Matchbox Pictures, who said that SP events, which Rajesh Panday is associated with, organized a vaccination drive on May 29 for 150 employees.
Aditya College also complained of a fake vaccination drive conducted on the campus.
The Kandivali Police arrested Mahendra Pratap Singh (39), Nitin Mode (32), Sanjay Gupta (29), and Lalit alias Chandan Singh (32).
The fifth accused, Qareem Akbar (21) was detained in Mumbai after he returned from Madhya Pradesh. The Police also identified an accused named Manish Tripathi.
Tripathi runs the KCEP School of Medical and Paramedical Sciences in Kandivali West. Tripathi has been absconding.
On June 19, the Versova Police filed a second FIR against Sanjay Gupta, following which he was arrested.
However, Rajesh Panday filed for an anticipatory bill. Suresh Kakani, the BMC Additional Municipal Health Commissioner said the vaccine could’ve been brought from outside Mumbai or could be spurious.
The couple who founded the Shivam Hospital were also arrested by the Kandivali Police over allegations of fake vaccine administration.
Shivraj Patariya and his wife, Nita Pataria were taken into custody. The police noted that between March 14 to April 30, the hospital vaccinated over 15,000 people. The vials were received from the BMC before 30 April and the hospital only had permission for vaccination until April 2021.
It is suspected that Shivam Hospital provided the company with the remaining vials, which were later used to illegally administer to the residents of the Hiranandani housing society.
The Bangur Nagar Police Station, Goregaon stated they received a similar complaint from Bank of Baroda’s Evershine Branch scam On April 23 and May 25, the accused vaccinated 40 employees of the bank. The bank paid Rs 35,000 to Mahendra Singh.
However, the employees did not receive a certificate. The Bangur Police had registered a case against a total of six people – Dr. Manish Tripathi, Mahendra Singh, Sanjay Gupta, and two unidentified people who were present during the vaccination.
The Bangur Police said, “The scam started from Shivam Hospital in Charkop, Kandivali West. It has been running a vaccination center since March 14 this year.
However, on April 30, the state government stopped providing vaccines to private hospitals. We suspect that Shivam hospital did not use 100 percent of the vaccine in each vial. Every vial has 10 ml of the vaccine, meant to vaccinate 10 people.
However, Shivam Hospital did not give the full 1 ml to the beneficiaries. The hospital most likely stored the remaining vaccine and used it at various camps.”
The Police added, “We also suspect that Shivam Hospital did not return empty vials to the civic body.
The vaccines are given to the residents of Hiranandani Heritage society at Kandivali, Aaditya college at Borivali, production houses TIPs films at Versova, and Matchbox at Khar, and Bank of Baroda’s Evershine Nagar, were probably expired.”
On 24 June, the Borivali Police station registered seven FIRs similar to the Kandivali cases. The vaccination camp was held at Shimpoli, Borivali West.
Around 514 people were vaccinated. The people paid Rs 6.47 lakh to Mahendra at the camp.
The accused have been charged with the Indian Penal Code – Section 268 (public nuisance), 270 (doing any act known to spread infection or disease dangerous to life), 274 (Adulteration of drugs), 275 (sale of adulterated drugs), 419 (impersonation), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 470 (forging document).