Mumbai: Days after Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla alleged that he had been receiving threats in India over vaccine supply, Minister of State for Home Shambhuraje Desai on Monday announced that the state government would hold an in-depth inquiry into the matter but Poonawalla would have to file a police complaint.
“Poonawalla should lodge a complaint giving details of threat and the phone number from where he got the call. We will conduct an in-depth probe into it,” said Desai.
Desai’s announcement came after Poonawalla on Saturday told The Times, London, “Threats are an understatement", as he revealed the pressure to scale up production and deliver the crores of doses required by the Indian government to vaccinate as many people as possible to counter the devastating second wave of the virus. Poonawalla, who is currently in the UK on an extended stay, has said he will return in a few days.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Nana Patole called upon Poonawalla to return to India, assured him that his party would take on the responsibility for his security. “People’s lives are important and vaccine production should take place in India only. The Centre has already given him ‘Y’ category security. More (security) will be given if necessary,” he said
“No one can touch him. He should return and work on vaccine production,” the Congress leader said.However, NCP chief spokesman and Minister of Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik claimed Poonawalla was responsible for the present situation he is in and that no one was defaming him. “First, he announces a price of Rs 150 per dose of Covishield vaccine for the Central government, Rs 400 for the states and Rs 700 for private hospitals. Later, through a tweet, he announces a price reduction for states to Rs 300 per dose from the earlier Rs 400 per dose. This has created suspicion and there are a lot of questions in the minds of the people,” Malik felt.
Earlier, Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad said the country needed to know the truth behind the alleged threats to Poonawalla.