Mumbai Police on Sunday defended its summoning and subsequent grilling of Bruck Pharma director Rajesh Dokania following information that thousands of vials of the Remdesivir drug were to be flown out of the country.
"Mumbai Police had specific information about stocking of a large quantity (60,000 vials) of Remdesevir medicine by a pharmaceutical company. This stock of Remdesevir could not be exported due to an existing ban by the Government of India on the export of Remdesevir. Remdesevir is considered a life saving medicine for COVID-19 positive patients," Mumbai Police said in a release.
"The director of the pharmaceutical company was called for inquiry in order to trace and seize a large quantity i.e., 60,000 vials of the life-saving medicine Remdesevir based on a specific input verified by facts. This inquiry was necessary in the light of complaints of rampant hoarding and black marketing of Remdesevir and shortage being faced by citizens," it added.
"The director of the pharmaceutical company was questioned and later allowed to go after asking him to be present for inquiry whenever called," the Mumbai Police further added.
What is the controversy?
After Dokania was summoned, the appearance of top Maharashtra BJP leaders, including Devendra Fadnavis, late at night at the BKC police station has intensified the political slugfest between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the BJP over handling of the pandemic and paucity of critical healthcare supplies.
"Four days ago we had requested Bruck Pharma to supply us Remdesivir but they couldn't until permission was given. I spoke to Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya and we got FDA's permission," Fadnavis said.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police said that did not have any information regarding the communication between the FDA and the Daman-based pharmaceutical manufacturing company.
"Devendra Fadnavis enquired why the director of the pharmaceutical company was called to the Police Station. He said permission was taken from Commissioner FDA to donate the stock of Remdesevir vials to the Maharashtra Govt, as Remdesevir stocked for export cannot be diverted to the domestic market without permission from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) or FDA. 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," Mumbai Police said in the release.