Former Cricketer and member of Lok Sabha, Gautam Gambhir's foundation illegally bought and distributed anti-viral drug Fabiflu, and has been found guilty under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) informed the Delhi High Court.
The medication is used for treating mild to moderate COVID patients.
Advocate Nandita Rao appearing for DCGI, submitted a report to a division bench comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh. It was informed that the foundation had procured more than 2,000 strips of Fabiflu from authorised dealers, despite them not holding a license for purchasing, LiveLaw reported.
DCGI also advised initiating stringent action against the foundation, dealers, and other organisations that it would bring to the Court's notice.
Show cause notices have been sent to firms involved i violating the conditions of the Act. The DCGI said that these firms are liable for prosecution for selling the medicines to an unlicensed foundation.
The department is directed to file a status report on the same and adjourned the matter for a hearing on July 29.
Shortly after the Court's statements, Gambhir took to Twitter, quoting freedom fighter Bhagat Singh's example to convey that he had done nothing wrong and will continue to do what he could for the public good.
The development came after the Court pulled up the DCGI for giving a clean chit to Gambhir's foundation without a proper enquiry into how his foundation could procure the drug in bulk. The Court had ordered the department to submit new status reports on the probe against Gautam Gambhir and AAP MLA (Jangpura) Praveen Kumar, who has also been found guilty of similar offences.
The Court was hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Deepak Kumar, who sought an FIR against Gambhir and others involved.
Later, on May 7, the Court directed the Delhi Police to investigate the matter of alleged hoarding of oxygen cylinders and medicines. It had asked DCGI to carry out an independent probe into the matter after the police gave clearance to Gambhir and others involved in the case.
Clearance By DCGI
Gambhir's foundation was given a clearance by the DCGI as well. However, the Court rejected the report that cited an exception mentioned in the Act that would permit such activities. The department had allegedly made amendments to the report for protecting these people.
"If your Drug Controller is not interested in doing the job, then we will ask that he be removed and let somebody else take over. What investigation? This is trash. There is no legal basis to it," the Court had said and asked the department to file a fresh report after proper investigation.
In the status report submitted on May 31, DCGI said that Gambhir had organised a medical camp at Jagriti Enclave, from April 22 to May 7, with the help of Dr Manish of Garg Hospital. The camp was organised to provide aid to the COVID patients.
Later, the hospital sent a letter requesting the foundation for Fabiflu, following which Gambhir had purchased 2,628 Fabiflu strips from a licensed dealer, of which 2,343 strips were distributed free of cost to attendants of the patients against the prescription produced by them.
In his statement to the police, Gambhir said that he intended to address people's desperate situations.
The Court said that his intention of helping people must have accompanied his acts. "You did charity and tried to help the people, but in that, you caused a shortage because of which genuine patients could not get the medicine. There could have been other ways of helping people," Hindustan Times quoted the Court's statement.
It further said that the illegal purchase of essential medications must be stopped, and legal action must be taken against them.