More than 2,000 people have fallen prey to fake COVID vaccination camps in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Thursday, June 24.
Seven FIRs have been registered in connection with the matter and eight people have been arrested.
"Eight accused have been arrested and ₹ 12.40 lakh that was fraudulently obtained has been recovered. Bank accounts of the main accused - Manish Tripathi and Mahendra Singh - have been frozen," said Vishwas Nangre Patil, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), reported NDTV.
Nine Fake Vaccine Drives Held So Far
The state government told the court that at least nine fake camps had been held in Mumbai and as many as 2,053 people were given fake vaccines, including 390 vaccinations at Hiranandani Health Club at Kandivali (W), 207 at Podar Education Society in Parel, 514 in Borivali, 30 at Malad West and nearly 365 persons at a drive organised for employees of Tips Industries at Khar, among others.
It also said that the police had recorded the statements of 400 witnesses so far and the investigators were in the process of finding the whereabouts of a doctor, who was accused in the incident that took place at a housing society in suburban Kandivali, where one such camp was held.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, the court expressed concern over the citizens who received the fake vaccines and asked the state government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to formulate specific policy or guidelines to prevent such incidents in the future and, without delay, file affidavits by next hearing.
The bench also took exception to the fact that the government was yet to come up with specific guidelines for vaccination camps organised by private housing societies, offices, etc., despite an order of the court passed earlier this month.
The BMC said that the civic body has also lodged a police complaint after it came to know about the fake drives. The BMC counsel also said that it has written to Serum Institute of India (SII), which manufactures Covishield, to look into the issue.
Fake Vaccine Drive Menace
Reports of fake vaccine drives are, however, not new. Earlier this week, MP and actor Mimi Chakraborty fell prey to one such drive in Kolkata.
Chakraborty said she grew suspicious after being inoculated as she did not receive the customary SMS that is sent to people after they are administered a dose. The police arrested a man for allegedly posing as an IAS officer and organising a COVID-19 vaccination camp in the city's Kasba area.