Mumbai vax scam: Doctor couple sent to police custody till Monday

Published on Jun 25, 2021 11:45 PM IST

Kandivali police arrested a doctor couple who runs Shivam Hospital at Charkop, for allegedly supplying “unutilised” or “leftover” vials of Covid-19 vaccines for the unauthorised camp organised at various places across Mumbai

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ByMegha Sood, Mumbai

Kandivali police arrested a doctor couple who runs Shivam Hospital at Charkop, for allegedly supplying “unutilised” or “leftover” vials of Covid-19 vaccines for the unauthorised camp organised at various places across Mumbai. A metropolitan magistrate court has remanded the arrested couple, Shivraj Pataria, 61, and his wife Nita, 60, in police custody till Monday.

The couple had conducted authorised vaccination camps from March 14 to April 30 at Shivam Hospital in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Around 150,000 people were vaccinated at the private hospital, which allegedly retained the “unused” or “leftover” Covishield vaccine doses in empty bottles. They allegedly supplied that “leftover” stock to Mahendra Singh and Dr Manish Tripathi, who held unauthorised vaccination camps at various places across Mumbai.

A senior police officer said the gang mixed saline in the “leftover” vaccines and administered the mixture to about 2,053 beneficiaries.

According to protocol, vaccines are to be administered within specified period of time after the vials are opened, and leftover or unused stock has to be destroyed, but police suspect that the leftover vaccines were not destroyed or returned to BMC by the hospital.

Kandivali police said, during the vaccination camp, Shivam Hospital authorities purportedly did not give prescribed amount of doses to people and saved a part of the stock.

Police officers said they have not got the vaccine bottles which were used in the scam, so it would be difficult to prove whether the leftover vaccine was mixed with some other liquid.

Tripathi, who is wanted in the case, has applied for anticipatory bail in Dindoshi session court. He had named the doctors of Shivam Hospital for the scam in his application. Tripathi’s lawyer had said that Tripathi had recorded his statement with Kandivali police naming the Patarias on June 15.

Meanwhile, Tripathi’s anticipatory bail application will be heard on Friday.

The Mumbai Police registered seven first information reports (FIRs) in the fake vaccination scam so far.

Bhoiwada police on Wednesday registered the fifth FIR, while Bangur Nagar and Borivli police stations filed the sixth and seventh FIRs respectively, in connection with the vaccination scam late on Thursday. Bhoiwada police booked six people who posed as doctors and held an unauthorised vaccination camp in May at a private educational institute in Parel. Mumbai Police charged members of the bogus vaccination camp group with attempt to commit culpable homicide not amounting to murder in Fir with Bhoiwada police.

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