Mumbai court refuses bail to two accused in fake vaccination scam
The sessions court on Thursday rejected bail applications of two accused arrested for allegedly organising fake vaccination camps at Podar Centre, Parel and other places in Mumbai in May. The accused put several lives at risk by administering fake vaccines and they may threaten witnesses if released on bail, additional sessions judge Chitra Hankare said while rejecting the bail pleas of Shrikhant Mane, a resident of Kalyan, and Seema Ahuja, a resident of Majiwada in Thane.
The judge said that as the investigation is ongoing, if granted bail, the accused may tamper with evidence and jump bail.
The duo had approached the court for bail in a case registered against them at Bhoiwada police station. They had said they knew one Mahendra Singh, an employee of Malad Medical Association, who had shown his willingness to carry out vaccination drives for corporates, and that the accused agreed to participate in the drive as they believed Singh. Ahuja further claimed that she herself and some of her relatives got vaccinated in one of the camps organised by the group.
As per their statement, Singh had told them that vaccination certificates would be generated in 10 days but later when certificates were not generated, he started giving excuses.
The accused further claimed that they had also lodged a complaint against Singh at Bhoiwada, Borivli and Nagpada police stations. Thus, the applicants claimed, they were innocent and falsely implicated in the case and had fallen prey to Singh’s scam. They said that they had no mala fide intention in arranging the vaccination camps.
The prosecution opposed the bail applications saying the offence was of serious nature and various offences are registered in the city against the accused. It further claimed that the handwriting and signature samples of the accused are yet to be taken, charge sheet is yet to be filed in the case and the investigation is on. The prosecution added that accused may threaten witnesses if released on bail which may hamper the investigations as the main accused is yet to be arrested.
Judge Hankare, while rejecting the bail applications, observed that the accused are travel consultants by profession and had arranged trips for Malad Medical Association and that they knew various doctors of Malad Medical Association; hence they should have confirmed all the legal necessities for the vaccination camps.
On May 28 and 29, the group had organised a vaccination camp at Podar Centre in Parel in which around 207 staff members of the institute were vaccinated. The duo had coordinated with Singh and four others for the camp and had received ₹244,000 for the same.
The vaccination scam came to light after Hiranandani Heritage Society in Kandivli approached the police saying they were duped by Singh and four others who administered fake vaccines to their society members on May 30. The society members claimed they received vaccination certificates which had names of different hospitals and different dates, and the same was not reflected on Co-Win portal.