HC slams drug department's clean chit to Gambhir
The Delhi high court on Monday pulled up the city’s drug controller for giving a clean chit to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Praveen Kumar for allegedly hoarding Covid-19 medicines, as the bench said it cannot “be taken for a ride”.
Calling the drug’s controller’s status report on the enquiry on Gambhir and Kumar “trash”, a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said, “You want us to shut our eyes to it. You think you will get away with this kind of a false statement. Don’t we know what the situation on ground was like? One thing is very clear. You cannot take us for a ride. If you think we are gullible, so naive; we are not. We will give it back to you very, very hard...
“There is a fundamental error of approach. The manner in which you have conducted the investigation is questionable…We reject the report ...this is trash. What investigation is this? There is no legal basis for it. We reject it here. If your drug controller is not interested in doing the job, then we will ask that he be removed and let somebody else take over,” the bench said.
It, however, accepted the clean chit given to AAP MLA Preeti Tomar.
A senior official from Delhi’s health department said, “The court has asked for a detailed report, which will be submitted in three days.” The head of Delhi’s drug control office, AK Nasa, declined to comment.
In its report, the drug controller said the Gautam Gambhir Foundation’s (GGF) distribution of Fabiflu strips appeared to be covered by an exception mentioned in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, since the drugs were given away during an event that was being treated as a medical camp organised under the supervision of a doctor from Garg Hospital in the city.
“You better do your job. If you can’t do your job, tell us, we will have you suspended and let someone else do your job,” the court said directing the drug controller to file a fresh report with better enquiry by Thursday.
The court came down heavily on the drug controller for not examining how large quantities of drug were given out when the doctor had not sought it.
“Here is a man who is hoarding thousands of strips of medicine. He is interrupting the flow of medicines... place before us the relevant rules that govern the dealer and sale. This is the inquiry we wanted you to conduct and not say that so many lives have been saved,” the court said.
The high court was hearing a PIL seeking lodging of an FIR on the allegations that politicians are able to procure in huge quantities and distribute COVID-19 medicines even as patients were running from pillar to post to get them.
An application was also filed in the pending petition making allegations against Tomar and Kumar.
Advocate Nandita Rao, representing the drug controller, said Gambhir through his foundation organised a medical camp from 22 April to May 7 with the help of Garg Hospital and that while there was no prescription, a request letter by the hospital was sent to the foundation. She said based on the letter of April 19, Gambhir made a purchase order from a licensed dealer.
Gambhir, Kumar and Tomar did not respond to requests for comment.