Mumbai Police on Sunday strongly defended the summoning of Bruck Pharma director Rajesh Dokania for an inquiry over the stock of 60,000 Remdesivir vials and saying that probe was necessary in the light of complaints of rampant hoarding and black marketing of the life-saving medicine and shortage faced by citizens. DCP Operation S Chaitanya issued a release after the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis along with other BJP leaders visited the BKC Police Station on Saturday night and alleged that the company director was harassed by the state government and the police.
‘’Mumbai Police had specific information about stocking of a large quantity (60,000 vials) of Remdesivir by a pharmaceutical company. This stock could not be exported due to the existing ban by the Government of India. Remdesivir is considered a life saving medicine for COVID 19 positive patients,’’ said Chaitanya. He further stated that acting on specific information on April 17, a director of the pharma company (release did not mention Bruck Pharma) by BKC Police Station for inquiry. A team from Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) was also there and the FDA Commissioner and Joint Commissioner were aware of it.
On the same day at about 11.15 pm, LoP Fadnavis, LoP Pravin Darekar, MLAs Parag Alavani and Prasad Lad visited BKC Police Station. ‘’Fadnavis enquired why the director was called to the Police Station. He said permission was taken from FDA Commissioner to donate the Remdesivir stock vials to the Maharashtra Government as the vials stocked for export cannot be diverted to the domestic market without the permission from the Drugs Controller General of India or FDA.
However, Chaitanya clarified that, ‘’The communication from FDA to the pharmaceutical company was not shared with BKC Police Station which was acting independently on the information available with them. Mumbai Police acted in good faith. The director was called for an inquiry in order to trace and seize a large quantity (60,000 vials) of the life-saving medicine Remdesivir based on a specific input verified by facts. The inquiry was necessary in the light of complaints of rampant hoarding and black marketing of Remdesivir and shortage being faced by citizens,’’ he added.
He said these facts were explained to Fadnavis and Darekar. They were informed that necessary legal action will be taken against those illegally hoarding Remdesivir. Senior officers of Mumbai Police were present. ‘’The director of the pharmaceutical company was questioned and later allowed to go after asking him to be present for inquiry whenever called,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 8) Manjunath Singe said they had received information that Remdesivir manufactured in Daman was brought in large quantities in the city and for that, we had called the pharma company director for enquiry. "While the pharma director was called in good faith for enquiry, we have neither seized any vials nor arrested anyone. The enquiry is still underway," he added.