Four men were arrested in two days –– Thursday and Friday –— for allegedly conducting an unauthorised vaccination drive in Hiranandani Heritage Housing Society on SV road in Kandivali (West) without following the procedure laid down by the government.
The Kandivali Police, however, said there is no clarity on whether the vaccines administered to 390 people from the housing society on May 30 were genuine or not. Dilip Sawant, additional commissioner, north region, confirmed the development adding, “Till now we can say vaccines were not procured from any authorised source. The probe is on to find out if vaccines were genuine.”
“We have however added section for adulteration of drugs under IPC as the vaccines that were administered did not have a seal on it,” said Vishal Thakur, DCP, zone 11.
According to Kandivali police, the accused in custody have been identified as Mahendra Pratap Singh, 39, a member of medical association, who organised the entire vaccination drive, Sanjay Gupta, 29, an event manager who managed the event, and Chandan Singh alias Lalit, 32, and Nitin Mode, 32 –– both working for private hospitals (police refused to identify the hospitals) –– who helped in providing the forged certificates from CoWin app.
The duo, Nitin and Chandan, used the user ID and password from the hospitals and got the certificates from CoWin app. But the details such as the date, time and locations on which the vaccines were administered did not match. Hence the police added forgery sections.
The police said a marketing executive Rajesh Pandey working with Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital is wanted in the case. Pandey’s services were terminated by the hospital after his name surfaced in the probe.
The police said Pandey was the one who got in touch with those in need of vaccines and Mahendra Singh then organised the drive for them.
Another wanted accused in the case, 21-year-old Karim Akbar Ali, has been traced to Madhya Pradesh and is being brought back. “Ali was the carrier for the vaccines,” said Babasaheb Salunke, senior police inspector of Kandivali police station.
A doctor who helped in procuring the vaccines is also wanted in the case. There was no doctor at the vaccination drive and the accused used nursing students to administer the vaccines.
Investigating officer Deepshika Ware said all the accused have been booked for cheating, impersonation, adulteration of drugs, forgery under IPC and IT Act and Epidemic Diseases Act for disobeying regulation/order under the Act. All the four arrested have been sent to police custody till June 25. The police have seized around Rs 9 lakh from Mahendra’s bank account.
The matter came to light on June 12 when the society members did not get their certificates while those who got it had wrong details on it. The members also did not suffer any side effects due to the vaccination and approached the police after the hospitals denied being part of the vaccination drive.
“The accused told us that they have conducted similar drives at nine places in Mumbai,” said Sawant. One of the drives was for Ramesh Taurani who conducted a drive for over 300 of his employees. Taurani has given a written complaint to Versova police station.