'BJP pressurising cops': Maharashtra minister on pharma firm Remdesivir stock
Maharashtra home minister Dilip Walse Patil on Sunday accused the BJP of trying to pressurise the Mumbai police and interefere in their work, and warned that such attempts will not be tolerated.
Talking to reporters, he said the city police had received a specific input that 50,000 vials of Remdesivir were being brought to the city, and added that the director of Bruck Pharma was called for questioning on Saturday in that connection.
But Leaders of Opposition in the state legislature, Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar, along with their colleagues, went to the police station and asked the officials as to why the company director was called and for what, Walse Patil said.
"Police can call anybody for questioning and the BJP leaders' actions amounts to pressuring the officials and interfering in the official work. Such action is not right and will not be tolerated in future," he said.
To a question on whether the police will take action against the BJP leaders, Walse Patil said he would discuss the issue with his colleagues and take appropriate decision.
The Remdesivir stock was not seized, but we feel the stock was more than 50,000, he added.
The company director showed the permission letter from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for selling the stock to the Maharashtra government, the minister said.
Earlier, when the FDA gave permission to the company director Rajesh Dokania to supply stock to Maharashtra, he had expressed inability to honour the commitment, Walse Patil said.
"A probe is on whether the stock was to be sold to private parties or to the government. The stock is at present with the company. It was not going to the government. Investigation is being carried out to find out to whom it was being given," he said.
The stock cannot be sold to political parties, he said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole demanded action against Fadnavis and Darekar for "pressurising police to let off" the pharma company direction, who is suspected of hoarding Remdesivir injection stock.
In a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Patole claimed that Fadnavis had told the police that the Remdesivir stock was brought with the permission of union ministers.
"When Remedisivir cannot be sold to private parties, how did Fadnavis get permission? Has the central government given its nod to the BJP and Fadnavis to hoard Remdesivir?'' he asked.
According to police, they had got information that the Remdesivir stock was going to be flown abroad by air cargo, despite a ban on the export of the drug.
Police questioned Dokania on Saturday night. On learning about it, Fadnavis and Darekar had rushed to the police station. Their appearance at the police station has now triggered a political slugfest between the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the opposition party over the paucity of healthcare supplies.