Mumbai: In what could spell some serious troubles for actor Sonu Sood and Congress leader Zeeshan Siddiqui, the Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that it would thoroughly probe as to from where did the two personalities got huge supplies of Remdesivir and other essentials, which they passed on to the needy citizens. The HC has said the two celebs cannot breach laws even if their intention is to help citizens.
A bench of Justices Amjad Sayed and Girish Kulkarni was informed that the state has received responses from Sonu's Sood Foundation and Zeeshan, to the show cause notices issued to them earlier.
"They have claimed that they haven't stocked any drugs nor have they purchased," Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the judges, adding, "The two of them have said they have only facilitated the help. And have agreed that sometimes they have paid the cost of the drugs too."
The AG further said that they have taken help from one Jubilant Cipla for the supply of these drugs. "We will now cross check the claims with the manufacturers now," he submitted.
At this, Justice Kulkarni pointed out that as per the norms, all manufacturers have to submit Remdesivir only to the Union government and not to any private person. "Then how could these two get it?" the judge questioned.
During the hearing, additional solicitor general Anil Singh for the Union government told the judges that the central government has already received responses from all the seven companies that manufacture Remdesivir.
"All the companies have denied supplying the vials to Sood Foundation and Zeeshan Siddiqui," he submitted.
To this, Justice Kulkarni said, "Sood Charity Foundation has in its response said Cipla is helping them. Now all these companies deny helping anyone. This means someone isn't speaking the truth. This needs to be probed."
The ASG said it would be the duty of the state now to look into this issue. "Prime Minister himself have continuously asked the state to ensure there is no black marketing of this drug or any other essentials. Now the state will have to probe this issue," the ASG submitted.
Having heard the contention, Justice Kulkarni said, "Their intentions might be good and bonafide and they would seriously be wanting to help the needy citizens. But that just cannot happen in violation of the norms. This would only defeat the numerous orders passed by this court as well as the top court."
"Law has to be upheld by every citizen, whomsoever s/he maybe," the judge remarked.
Advocate General Kumbhakoni while seconding the court, said, "We too agree with this. There cannot be a Robinhood approach."
The court further said that the state must caution all these celebrities and "in fact take an undertaking from them that they won't indulge into all this again," Justice Kulkarni said.
Meanwhile, advocate Rajesh Inamdar for one of the petitioners pointed out that actor Sonu Sood and Zeeshan Siddiqui has also started providing Amphotericin-B, the injection used for treating Black Fungus aka Mucormycosis disease.
The bench having heard this expressed their concern over the black marketing of all these drugs. "These celebs may be getting these drugs to help the needy and the poor. But how will they cross-check if those seeking help from them are bonafide persons and not those into black marketing?" Justice Kulkarni said.
"These celebs can help citizens but in a process known to the state and not like this," the judge added.
The matter would be heard again next week.