In what turned out to be a storm in a tea-cup, the 60,000 vials of Remdesivir injections procured by the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was intended for the Maharashtra government, Foods & Drugs Administration Minister Dr. Rajendra Shingane admitted here on Tuesday. "I was aware of it. The BJP leaders had met me at my house along with the manufacturers' representatives. They offered to help us procure the Remdesivir stocks for the state government and I agreed to it," Dr. Shingane told a local private TV channel.
He added that the injection stock could not be for any other purpose and even the BJP leaders assured him accordingly, embarrassing the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress. Reacting to the minister's assertion, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Pravin Darekar confirmed that he had taken a delegation of manufacturers to meet him.
"Minister Shingane had thanked us for our efforts and we also assured the injection doses would be given to the state government," Darekar said.
It maybe recalled that on Saturday-Sunday night, the Mumbai Police had 'seized' the stock of injections that was being surreptitiously brought into the state from Union Territory of Daman and had even detained a company official.
Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Devendra Fadnavis and Darekar had spent hours at the police station to sort out the matter saying the Maharashtra Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) had permitted the consignment.
After almost a night-long drama, the police allowed the company executive to go but on Sunday morning a huge row erupted between the BJP and MVA with both sides hurling allegations at each other.
Darekar said it is now up to people like NCP's Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik, Sena MP Sanjay Raut, State Congress chief Nana Patole and even senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to reply in the matter.
"I had been in touch with Minister Shingane right from the beginning, met him at his home and he agreed. Now, all the allegations by the ruling party leaders and the police station drama stands exposed," Darekar said.