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Hoarding case: Delhi HC dissatisfied with police clean chit to BV Srinivas, others

Asks politicians to voluntarily surrender the medicines to Directorate of Health Services (DGHS) as good Samaritans, police to file fresh status report.
By hindustantimes.com | Reported by Richa Banka | Edited by Karan Manral, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 17, 2021 01:44 PM IST
Delhi High Court (Mint file)

The Delhi high court on Monday expressed dissatisfaction with the police for giving clean chit to nine politicians, including Indian Youth Congress (IYC) president BV Srinivas, in connection with the alleged oxygen cylinder hoarding case.

“We are not accepting this position. We mean business. The pandemic is now. This is completely unacceptable. Political parties cannot make this pandemic a selling point. How could they purchase it without prescription?

Also Read | Clean chit to BV Srinivas, 8 others in hoarding case

“You have to act with responsibility. They have no business to buy medicines and hoarding them to earn some goodwill. Now it seems that you are not interested in getting out the truth,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said.

“Just because some political figures are involved, this is no reason to not investigate. Your force should stand up, you have a duty towards the people. You have to understand this. People all over are suffering,” Justice Vipin Sanghi said, pulling up the Delhi Police, asking if the force realises just how many people have died due to lack of medicines, which, allegedly, were being hoarded by some people.

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Justice Sanghi further said, “Medicines were being hoarded by a certain doctor. Since it is being projected that the medicines are held for public charity, we expect that as responsible citizens, people will not procure these medicines for political gains.”

Also Read | PIL on hoarding: Delhi Police question Youth Cong chief BV Srinivas

The court further said that it expects the medicines to be surrendered to the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) for poor and needy public. It further directed the Delhi Police to conduct a “proper investigation” in the matter and do the needful if a case is made out to register an First information Report (FIR).

“We want a complete status report. We would expect that whatever stocks are being held by the political parties is surrendered to the Directorate of Health Services (DGHS) as good samaritans. In case they want to do public good that would be the best way it can be done. We find it difficult prima facie to believe…..We are appealing in good sense that this should not go and they should go and surrender it with the DGHS,” the bench said.

The observations and directions come while perusing the Delhi police’s status report in the high court where nine politicians including Srinivas, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gautam Gambhir and party leader Harish Khurana, as well Dilip Pandey of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for alleged hoarding of oxygen cylinders, as well as other essential medicines, were given clean chit by the probe agency.

The police in their report had said that they were actually helping people without charging money and no one was defrauded.

The case pertains to questioning by the police of nine people for alleged hoarding of oxygen cylinders, as well as other essential medicines, at a time when several hospitals in the Capital reported a shortage of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) resulting in several cases in which people infected with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) lost their lives. While the oxygen cylinders were provided to those in need, it was alleged that this was done for “political gains.”

However, it was the questioning of Srinivas which triggered a major political storm as he has been at the forefront of helping people with oxygen cylinders.

The Delhi Police was investigating the case on the directions of the high court which directed it to do so after a petition was filed in the court seeking a probe into the matter.

The high court will next hear the case on May 24, by when it has directed the Delhi Police to file a status report showing how medicines were procured in “such large numbers by a few persons.”

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