Respond to plea seeking Z-plus security for Adar Poonawalla, HC tells Maharashtra govt

Published on May 27, 2021 11:36 PM IST

The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday directed the state government to respond to a petition seeking Z-plus security for vaccine manufacturer Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India, in light of alleged threats to him from certain politicians who demanded more supply of the Covishield vaccine

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HT Image
By, Mumbai

The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday directed the state government to respond to a petition seeking Z-plus security for vaccine manufacturer Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India, in light of alleged threats to him from certain politicians who demanded more supply of the Covishield vaccine. The petition also seeks registration of a first information report (FIR) and initiation of a probe into the threats.

The vacation bench of justice SS Shinde and justice NR Borkar, while hearing the petition filed by advocate Datta Mane, was informed that as per a May 4 news report, Poonawalla had been living in fear due to constant pressure from politicians and notable persons demanding that he provide their state with more supply of the Covishield vaccine.

Mane’s petition further stated that the Poonawalla family had left for London due to this pressure and threats. The petition further stated that if vaccine manufacturers were subjected to such situations, the manufacturing of the vaccine would be affected.

After hearing the petition, the court questioned the locus of the petitioner and said that if Poonawalla was not satisfied by the security already provided to him, he could have approached the authorities. Advocate Pradeep Havnur, however, submitted that criminal law could be set in motion by any person.

The court then observed that Poonawalla was doing a good job and a huge service to the nation. “As per our knowledge, he has been given Y-Plus security already. The petitioner is seeking Z-plus security. We are not aware of it. If it is necessary, then the state will give it,” said the bench. The court also noted that as per news reports Adar Poonawalla’s father had clarified that he had gone to London for a break.

“The petitioner, being an advocate, will have to bear in mind and be careful next time while arguing this matter as our country has a very good reputation and such proceedings will have an international impact. This is not an ordinary matter,” said the bench and asked the state to respond to the petition.

Thereafter, additional public prosecutor SR Shinde for the state government sought time to take instructions from the concerned department and respond to the petition. The bench has posted further hearing of the petition to June 1.

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