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1 held for duping people on pretext of remdesivir sale

Police said the suspect, identified as Anuj Kumar Anand, allegedly demanded between ₹25,000 and ₹50,000 for a vial of remdesivir and tricked victims into transferring either the full amount or half of it to secure the vial.
By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 11, 2021 04:32 AM IST
“Not a single person was delivered the injection,” said deputy commissioner of police (north) Anto Alphonse.(File Photo)

A 53-year-old travel agent has been arrested for allegedly cheating several Covid patients and their families in Delhi and adjoining areas in the guise of selling remdesivir injections, the police said on Monday.

Police said the suspect, identified as Anuj Kumar Anand, allegedly demanded between 25,000 and 50,000 for a vial of remdesivir and tricked victims into transferring either the full amount or half of it to secure the vial. “Not a single person was delivered the injection,” said deputy commissioner of police (north) Anto Alphonse.

“Anand’s cellphone details show that he had contacted more than 200 people who were seeking remdesivir injections for Covid patients. In just two days (April 26 and 27), victims deposited 3 lakh in his bank account. Several WhatsApp chats and audio conversations have been found in his mobile phone. He also threatened people who were asking for refunds,” said DCP Alphonse.

With Anand’s arrest, four cheating cases registered at police stations in north, southeast, outer and northeast districts have been solved, police said, adding that there are many complaints pending against him at Faridabad and Gurugram as well. “We are trying to identify other victims who were duped by Anand. For that we are examining his bank statement and call details,” the DCP added.

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Police said that for the last two weeks, they were receiving information about a man who had been allegedly cheating people in the name of providing them remdesivir injections. Through technical surveillance, the suspect was identified and a decoy customer was used to strike a deal with him for obtaining a remdesivir injection. Accordingly, a raid was conducted and Anand was arrested on Saturday from Lajpat Nagar area, police said.

During questioning, DCP Alphonse said, Anand disclosed that he worked as a travel agent on commission basis but was left without a livelihood due to the lockdown.

On April 21, he visited a private hospital in south Delhi and noticed that there was an acute shortage of remdesivir injections as well as oxygen cylinders and people were ready to pay any amount to get them.

“Anand planned to earn a quick buck by assuring people remdesivir injections and started sending messages out in various groups regarding the availability of vials for 25,000 each. People, desperate for the medication, started calling him and he made them deposit half the amount but never delivered as he did not have any,” the DCP said.

In one case, Anand demanded 50,000 from a woman for delivering an injection for her father-in-law, a Covid patient undergoing treatment in a hospital in north Delhi. She paid 25,000 as advance but never got the injection, the police said.

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