Maharashtra: BJP MP moves HC, gets pulled up for posting videos on vaccine purchase

Mumbai: The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court was on Monday informed that BJP MP Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil from Ahmednagar did not procure the alleged 10,000 vials of Remdesivir from Delhi but instead had "only picked up" 1,200 vials from a Chandigarh-based manufacturer.

The HC pulled up the parliamentarian saying he must now introspect.

A bench of Justices Ravindra Ghuge and Bhalachandra Debadwar was moved by Vikhe-Patil through senior counsel Shirish Gupte.

"In this entire episode of allegations that I procured 10,000 vials of the drug from Delhi, I am been labelled as a hero or a villain. But I am not heard yet. Thus, please give me an audience and I can say all the confusion can be cleared," Gupte told the bench.

Gupte clarified that he only helped in airlifting 1,200 vials of Remdesivir from Chandigarh as the Pune-based Pharma D, a dealer, did not have sufficient stock of the drug. "People were about to die in my hospital. Thus, I requested the civil surgeon and the collector to place orders. They said Pune dealer doesn't have the stocks and we will have to wait for a few days for fresh stock to arrive from Chandigarh," the senior counsel explained.

"Thus, to cut short the waiting time, my client flew to Chandigarh and airlifted 1,200 vials," Gupte added.

At this, the bench said, "We won't pass any order adding you (Vikhe-Patil) as a party, in haste." The judges, accordingly sought to know from superintendent of police, Ahmednagar if he has traced the boxes in which the alleged vials were brought to Shirdi airport. “We recovered a single box there,” prosecutor DR Kale for the superintendent told the court.

The bench was further informed that there were only 15 boxes of 1,200 vials which were delivered to the civil surgeon of govt hospitals. "Rest 500 vials were sent directly by the Pune dealer. There is a huge confusion, let me clarify," Gupte said. Irked over the MP, Justice Ghuge said, "You need to introspect. Had you not clicked those videos claiming that you have procured 10,000 vials from Delhi by using your 'Sambhand' (contacts) and influence, there would have been no confusion."

Meanwhile, the bench pulled up the district collector, who had in the last hearing had made an attempt to protect the MP. "The collector misled us in last hearing?" Justice Ghuge sought to know from prosecutor DR Kale. "He (collector) had last time said 1,700 vials had come from Pune while 10,000 were brought from Delhi. But today he says only 1,200 vials came from Chandigarh and 500 were supplied from Pune dealer," Justice Ghuge noted.

The bench will hear the matter next Wednesday.

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