Mumbai, June 22 | Taking serious cognizance of the Covid vaccination frauds that recently shocked Mumbai, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra government and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation to catch the kingpins and unearth the entire racket.
Hearing the PIL filed by a social activist, advocate Siddharth Chandrashekhar, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni asked the Mumbai Police to submit the status report of its investigations into the scams by Thursday.
Suggesting that the government and the civic body could form a policy on priority to ensure no innocents suffer, the court wanted to know whether a system could be created to keep track of the doses which are released to the organisers of private inoculation camps in housing societies, corporate houses or educational institutions.
Stressing on the urgent need to form relevant guidelines, the court said that the frauds are taking place mostly in the western suburbs (of Mumbai) and said the racket must be unearthed to find out the kingpin defrauding people in such a ‘novel’ way.
“It is unimaginable that during this time of crisis when the entire humanity is suffering, people are committing such frauds,” the judges noted.
The court further asked the state and the BMC to inform them about the procedures that can be adopted by the housing societies to prevent such fake inoculation camps and said they should invoke the provisions of the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act against the culprits.
The BMC’s counsel, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, informed the court that the Mumbai Police are already investigating the issue and the civic body has also initiated the necessary measures.
“Imagine the plight of the person vaccinated with water. His state of mind is unimaginable,” the court said while hearing the petitioner’s lawyer Anita Castellino on the fraudulent vaccination drive on 390 members and others in the posh Hiranandani Heritage Society in Kandivali west last month.
Later, other instances also came to light, including at the Aditya College in Borivali and the Tips Industries Ltd in Andheri, even as the police swooped and nabbed five persons in connection with the fraud last week.
In most of these #VToo scams that have emerged, there are several common points like the vaccination data not uploaded on the CoWIN portal, the Covid Vaccination Certificate (CVCs) not issued or delayed and coming from different hospitals with many errors, people not experiencing the possible side-effects post-dose, exorbitant charges for vaccines which the government has now started giving for free, the vaccine vials were not sealed or stamped ‘Not For Sale’ etc.