'Remdesivir was distributed from BJP office to save lives': Gujarat MLA to HC
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Harsh Sanghavi told the Gujarat high court on Tuesday that Remdesivir injections were made available by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to needy patients in Surat and Navsari in south Gujarat between April 10 and 12 on grounds of "compassion and humanity" and to "save a number of lives", news agency PTI reported.
The MLA was defending himself against charges of hoarding and illegally distributing the antiviral drug. It was distributed with the "sole intention of compassion and humanity" as injections were "urgently required to save a number of lives", he said in an affidavit submitted in the court.
It was during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic, in April and May, that the MLA was found in possession of the Remdesivir viles. It was also the time when the whole country faced a severe shortage of the drug which is used to treat serious Covid-19 patients, as its demand was high.
Rejecting the charges levelled against him by Gujarat Congress leader Paresh Dhanani as a political stunt, the BJP legislator said a total of 2,506 vials of the injection were procured from a distributor on payments made on bills. It was only after proper verification of documents concerned at the BJP office in Surat that the vials were made available to patients, he said. Charges of hoarding and illegal distribution of the drug were "absolutely false, frivolous, baseless and made without verifying the correct facts," Sanghavi said.
The "distribution" was done in accordance with the procedure established by law, and was in no case an "illegal, irregular or unlawful" act, the BJP legislator further clarified.
Dhanani had filed the PIL in the HC seeking an independent inquiry against Sanghavi and Lok Sabha MP and Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil for “illegal and unauthorised distribution of Remdesivir injections” from the BJP's office in Surat.
Paatil, who is yet to file his affidavit, was given a week by the court on Tuesday to do so. The court also made it clear that "no further time will be granted." The matter will come up for further hearing on July 6.