A video showing Omprakash Shete, a former government official, breaking down in light of the terrible coronavirus situation in the state of Maharashtra is being circulated. Viral claims suggest that Omprakash Shete is the current Officer on Special Duty (OSD) with CM of Maharashtra and Head of Medical Assistance Cell.
Shete broke down during a recent press conference while talking about the plight of the citizens in Maharashtra which has been hit the hardest amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Shete can be heard saying "I have been the chief there, and we shouldn't speak ill of past associations, but it feels very bad...Sometimes I can't sleep, the structure of the temple which we built has been demolished. The common man cannot survive, it feels bad but only the Chief Minister has discretionary powers...it is up to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to decide how to use it. But at present, the condition of the people is very bad (Translated from Marathi)".
"Shocking :Mr Om Prakash Shete, OSD to CM #UddhavThackeray and Head of Medical Assistance Cell, breaks down while speaking to the reporters. The situation of #COVID19 is out of control in #Mumbai & other cities, people are dying," reads the caption of one such post.
OpIndia, in their report published on September 24, carried shots from the viral video and said that "the undated video has been doing rounds on social media in which Omprakash Shete, who is the chief of the Medical Assistance Cell of the Maharashtra Chief Minister is crying".
Republic TV on September 25 also reported on the viral clip with the headline, "'I Don't Have Any Hopes Left': Maha CM Medical Assistance Head Weeps Over COVID-19 Plight".
The Logical Indian received a request to verify the video.
Video shows Omprakash Shete, current OSD with CM of Maharashtra and Head of Medical Assistance Cell.
The claim is false. A keyword search led to a tweet by Lokmat, a local news outlet dated September 21, 2020, which carried the video of the press conference where Shete broke down and alleged that the government is misrepresenting the COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra. The tweet clearly mentions that Omprakash Shete is the former head of the Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell.
Shete clarified to BOOMLive that the video clip is actually a press conference held in Aurangabad on September 16, 2020. The events seen in the video is regarding a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which he had filed to seek benefits under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana for all COVID-19 patients and not just those on ventilator support.
Denying that he is currently an Officer on Special Duty and serving as the current head of Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell, he said that he is "a social worker and had filed a PIL to the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court and arranged a press conference regarding the same."
He added that the Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell where he was posted does not exist anymore.
"The fund is still in place but the cell has been dissolved," Shete was quoted as saying.
Regarding the viral claims that are being propagated about the video, he said that "I answered this and said that my intention is that COVID-19 patients should get free treatment under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana for COIVD-19 patients."
The Hindu reported on the PIL mentioned by Shete on September 26. The PIL was filed by him to the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court which was filed on September 7, 2020.
According to Shete's Facebook account, he mentions that he is the former OSD to the chief minister and the former head of the then Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell.