Police said vaccine was not procured from authorised sources and seals on the vials were broken
MUMBAI: A Class X dropout has turned out to be the mastermind of the fraudulent Covid-19 vaccination camp at Kandivali’s Hiranandani Heritage society.
Mahindra Singh, 39, who has been a member of a medical association for the past 17 years was arrested on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday along with four others.
While it is still not clear whether the vaccine was spurious, police concluded that it was not procured from authorised sources and seals on the vials were broken.
“The group conducted fraudulent vaccination camps at nine locations,” said regional additional commissioner Dilip Sawant.
“No intimation was given to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for the housing society camp which is mandatory as per guidelines,” Sawant added.
Besides Singh, police have arrested Sanjay Gupta, a middleman, who was present at the site to conduct the vaccination camps.
Gupta would collect money for the camp and hand it over to Singh.
Police have seized a sum of Rs 9 lakh from Singh’s account.
Two employees of private hospitals, Chandan Singh and Nitin Mode, have also been held.
The duo, who used hospital ID-passwords without authorisation to log in to the Co-Win platform, have also been held.
“The vaccines were ferried to the camps by Qareem Akbar Ali who has been arrested from a railway station in Madhya Pradesh as he was trying to flee,” said an official.
The vaccine certificates issued to beneficiaries are forged as the date, time and location of jabs were incorrectly inputted.
Police have applied charges of cheating, impersonation, forgery and adulteration under the Indian penal code (IPC) besides provisions of the Information Technology Act.
A vaccination camp was arranged by the residential complex on May 30. But later it found that the Co-WIN portal did not have any record of the people who participated and they received certificates in the name of different hospitals, it said.
“If the vaccine is found to be spurious, the people who got vaccinated will have a medical emergency to deal with. Therefore, there is an urgent need to investigate the whole episode so that such fraudulent activities are not repeated at other places,” the complaint said.
The HHRWA had orgainzed the camp through a person named Pandey, who claimed to be a sales representative of a reputed private hospital in Andheri. As many as 390 members received the jabs at the camp at ₹ 1,260 per person, it said in the complaint.
“We now feel that some unscrupulous elements have taken us for a ride,” the complaint read.
They were shocked to receive vaccination certificates in the name of Nanavati Hospital, Lifeline Hospital, and NESCO Covid Camp, among others, it said.
Nanavati Hospital said in a statement that it had not conducted any such vaccination camp. “We have informed the authorities and are lodging a formal complaint,” said its spokesperson on Tuesday.
The HHRWA also said that none of the people who got vaccinated had the usual after-effects like fever or body ache.
“There are doubts about whether we were actually given Covishield or was it just glucose or expired/waste vaccine,” said Alshi in her tweets.
According to the complaint, one Sanjay Gupta was the coordinator for the camp, but he did not give receipts for the payment for vaccines. He had asked the association to make payment to one Mahendra Singh.