Maharashtra Remdesivir row: Arrest of two directors of pharma company puts BJP on defensive
ANI File Photo

Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi partners and the opposition BJP are locked in a political slugfest over the summoning by the Mumbai Police of a pharma company director for inquiry into a Remdesivir stock of 60,000 vials.

After the Bruck Pharma director Rajesh Dokania was questioned by the police, the Leader of Opposition, Devendra Fadnavis, who rushed to the police station, accused the state government of playing cheap politics. It now appears that the stock had been arranged by the BJP for distribution in Maharashtra.

"We (BJP leaders) had contacted Bruck Pharma to supply the stock to Maharashtra as the state is facing a shortage of Remdesivir. We even informed the state FDA minister about it and approached the Union government seeking necessary permissions," he said.

He also accused the state government and the police of harassing the Bruck Pharma director. "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," said Fadnavis.

However, the arrest of Bruck Pharma technical directors, Manish Singh and Varun Kundra, on April 16 by the Gujarat Police on the charges of black marketing of Remdesivir has put BJP on the defensive.

Interestingly, despite these two arrests, Fadnavis and other BJP leaders went to the police station on April 17 and criticised the line of inquiry.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi partners, the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress slammed Fadnavis and the BJP for encouraging hoarding and pleading the case of a hoarder when the Centre is putting up roadblocks in the availability of Remdesivir. They also attacked Fadnavis and other BJP leaders, who accompanied him, for interfering with the working of the police and threatening them. Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said the state government was trying to restrict the hoarding of Remdesivir and it is for all others to rise above partisan politics.

NCP Minister Nawab Malik took a swipe at Fadnavis and Darekar saying that "When two leaders of the opposition and two legislators go to the police station late in the night, after the detention of Dokania, something is fishy". "The BJP is trying to ensure that Maharashtra doesn't get its stock of Remdesivir," he alleged. Why did the state BJP leaders get scared? The BJP

leaders should explain to the people of Maharashtra why they were "favouring" Dokania, he said. ‘’Why did they have to do this?" he asked.

Malik also said that after the Centre banned the export of Remdesivir, Dokania had approached the Maharashtra government and sought permission to sell it in the state.

State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Rajesh Shingane had met Dokania along with Darekar, he said.

On the other hand, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi in her tweet said, "If this isn't backstabbing the people of Maharashtra for his cheap politics then what is? A leader of opposition is hoarding an emergency drug procured secretly & when seized fights with Mumbai Police. Shame Mr Fadnavis. Your midnight shenanigans were exposed once and now again."

Furthermore, Congress veteran and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat took a dig at Fadnavis saying that instead of going to the police station to defend Dokania, had he (Fadnavis) gone to Delhi the state would have benefited by obtaining additional supply of Remdesivir.

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