'Fraud' vaccination drive: Cops verify college's claims of being a victim by same gang

Mumbai: A day after four were arrested by Kandivali Police, officials will be verifying the claims made by the Borivali-based Aditya College that the vaccination drive held in their campus on June 3 was organized by the same gang involved in the unauthorised vaccination drive held in a Kandivali society, where 390 people were administered with Covishield procured from unauthorized channels. After proper enquiries, a case is likely to be registered.

Meanwhile, the carrier of the vaccine, 21-year-old Qareem Akbar Ali is being brought to the police station from Madhya Pradesh on Saturday and he is likely to be arrested later on the day.

A senior police official confirmed that Borivali Police have received a complaint letter in connection with the Aditya College campus vaccination drive, wherein police are conducting enquiries to verify the allegations leveled and confirming if it is the same gang.

The college said in a press statement, "The vaccination drive held at Aditya College Campus on June 3, 2021 was organized by an event company and managed by chief manager, Sales of Kokilaben Hospital i.e Rajesh Pandey who has agreed, assured and undertaken that entire camp will be in supervision of said hospital in which he is employee and their firm who will be organizing the same shall procure all the necessary permissions and shall complete legal formalities and our job will be limited to payment only."

Entrusting the said employee, Aditya College decided to hold the said camp for the benefit to its students, staff and their family members as well as trustee of the collage considering the difficulty in getting the vaccination slots for 18-44 years age group in Cowin App, the statement read further. After the news of fraud vaccines came into light at Hiranandani Heritage, and the fact that they also went through a delay in receiving the vaccination certificates, Aditya College lodged a formal police complaint against the organisers of the vaccination drive.

A police official said that until they nab Pandey, who is a former employee of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, there will be an uncertainty on the clarity in this case. While Pandey was the face of the vaccination drive with the private hospital's name, the mastermind Mahendra Pratap Singh, from whom police have seized Rs 9 lakh, and his aide Sanjay Gupta orchestrated the entire drive at nine different locations, said Dilip Sawant, Additional Commissioner of Police (North Region).

Meanwhile, police are also recording statements of the trainee nurses, who were hired from a Charkop-based nursing institute to administer the vaccine shots. Police said that the fifth accused Qareem's role was only that of a carrier, and he can ascertain from where did he pick up and drop the vaccine vials. A parallel probe with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is underway to ascertain the authenticity of vaccines, even if it was procured from unauthorized channels, said police.

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