Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Tuesday ordered the Mumbai Police to arrest each and every accused in the fake vaccine drive case, wherein over 2000 citizens in the city were duped by administering fake vaccines in various housing societies, film production sets and colleges. The bench observed that it is the "state failure" and ordered the authorities to find out what exactly was administered to these 2,053 citizens in the fake vaccine camps.
The judges also sought to know from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as to by when would it inoculate these citizens, who have been defrauded in this fake vaccine scam. The bench was dealing with a PIL filed by Siddharth Chandrashekhar through advocate Anita Shekhar-Castellino highlighting the incidents of fake vaccine camps held in various parts in the city.
Pursuant to the last order, the Mumbai Police filed its report spelling out the current status of probe in the case. Chief public prosecutor Deepak Thakre for the city police informed the bench that in all 12 accused are named in the seven FIRs lodged at various police stations across Mumbai. "11 have been arrested and the prime accused Dr Manish Tripathi has surrendered before the police today morning after a court yesterday turned down his anticipatory bail application", Thakre told the bench.
Having gone through the report, chief justice Datta said, "The police must be instructed to investigate the case properly as there might be some big fishes involved. Thus, we are of the opinion that the probe in this case must be fair, proper and meaningful. Whoever the accused is, must be arrested, irrespective of whichever collared that person is. Hope you (Police) get what we say."
"When we are saving lives of citizens we need to arrest all of the accused," the chief justice added. During the hearing, Castellino told the judges that the state needs to check what actually was administered to these citizens as there are several students involved, who wish to go abroad for further studies.
"When did first incident took place?" CJ Datta asked senior counsel Anil Sakhare, who represents BMC. "Within 11 days all incidents took place," he responded. The chief justice noted that the incident took place some one month ago. "More than 2,000 persons have been duped. How do you (BMC) propose to vaccinate them?" CJ Datta questioned further to which Sakhare informed that after 15 days these citizens will have to undergo antigen body test. "They can either come to us or opt for a private test," he added.
"It appears to be a state failure. You find out what was exactly administered to these citizens. In fact, the BMC should have had checked it by now", CJ Datta said, adding, "By the next date tell us what are you complementing so far as these unfortunate persons are concerned".
Meanwhile, Sakhare submitted that the BMC is likely to issue fresh SOPs against fake vaccine camps and would detail guidelines for housing societies for holding vaccine camps on their premises.