Kolkata vaccine fraud: BJP's Suvendu Adhikari demands immediate probe

Updated on Jun 26, 2021 10:51 AM IST

Speaking on the alleged fake vaccination camps, Adhikari said the fraud can not take place without the "complicity of top civic authorities."

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. (File photo)(HT_PRINT)
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. (File photo)(HT_PRINT)
By | Written by Shivani Kumar | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

West Bengal's leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari on Saturday wrote to Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan over the vaccination camps in Kolkata where fake Covid-19 vaccines were allegedly administered. In his letter, Adhikari demanded central agencies to investigate the alleged fraud. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader began the letter by taking potshots at the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government. He said that "due to lack of enthusiasm" from the present state government, West Bengal is "failing to catch up" in the vaccination drive.

"In certain places, political affiliation is also being looked into by the ruling party before allowing the vaccines to be administered to eligible priority population even," Suvendu Adhikari added in the letter. "Vaccination coupons are also being reportedly issued by the ruling party like a voter slip," he also claimed.

Speaking on the alleged fake vaccination camps, Adhikari said the fraud can not take place without the "complicity of top civic authorities." He also questioned the pilferage of Covid-19 vaccines from the government stock.

"The big question is - Were these shots really Covishield vaccines as being claimed by the accused? If so, then this raises a big question on pilferage of Covid vaccines from government stock and this cannot happen without complicity of top civic authorities," Adhikari stated. "If these were not Covid vaccines, then immediate investigation needs to be done as to what was being administered at such a large scale?" he also wrote.

He further emphasised that if people who thought to have been vaccinated died from this medicine or contracted Covid-19 and died from the disease, it would "severely dent the credibility of this historic vaccination drive" being undertaken by your government.

"A thorough investigation needs to be done, prioritising public health and safety," Adhikari demanded.

Kolkata Police on Friday arrested Debanjan Deb, who was pretending to be an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, for duping thousands of people of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of helping them get tenders of the civic body. It is alleged that Deb used the money to organise fake Covid-19 vaccination camps, pay salary to his employees and rent for the office.

According to a PTI report, Deb was impersonating as a joint commissioner of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), while lying to his family about being an IAS officer.

As the case came to light, Trinamool Congress lawmaker Dr Santanu Sen said strict action will be taken against Deb. Sen who is also the Indian Medical Association’s West Bengal secretary said that the incident was part of an organised crime and Kolkata Police are investigating the matter.

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