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Delhi HC orders drug controller to probe procurement & distribution of COVID drugs by politicians

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The Delhi High Court has ordered the drug controller to probe the issue of how politicians are procuring COVID medicines in bulk and distributing them at a time when there is an acute shortage of these medicines in the market. The order is likely to affect BJP MP Gautam Gambhir and AAP MLAs Priti Tomar and Praveen Kumar.

The division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said the drug controller of the Delhi government must probe how it became possible for someone to procure over 2,000 strips of a medicine, Fabiflu, in Delhi when it is already in short supply and how the chemist entertained such a prescription.

Notably, the direction came in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking registration of an FIR against politicians who were able to procure in huge quantity and distribute COVID-19 medicines even as patients were running from pillar to post to get them.

Not doubting Gautam Gambhir’s intentions

The court said, “Mr. Gautam Gambhir must have done it with best of intentions. We are not doubting his intentions. He has been a national player of our country. Our question is whether it is a responsible behaviour when you know the medicine is in short supply. We are not doubting his intentions but the way he has gone about it, he has actually done a disservice, unintentionally may be. This was not the way that you buy from the market so many strips, certainly not.”

According to a status report of the Delhi Police submitted in the court, Gambhir had purchased 2,628 strips of Fabiflu, used for treating COVID-19 patients, on the prescription of Dr. Manish of Sanjay Garg Hospital. While 2,343 strips were distributed to patients, the remaining 285 strips were deposited with the Delhi government’s director general of health services for distribution, in view of the court’s earlier order.

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The division bench said, “We would like you (drug controller) to tell us what inquiry you have done. Here there is a very clear case made out. Tell us under what provisions action is required to be taken and against whom. All this has to be done by the Drug Controller and not by the Delhi Police, as per the Supreme Court’s order.”

Probe against AAP MLAs

The court also ordered the drug controller to carry a similar probe into the allegations against AAP MLAs Priti Tomar and Praveen Kumar of procuring and hoarding medical oxygen. The court has sought a status report from the drug controller.

Notably, a similar incident had happened in Gujarat as well when the state BJP chief CR Patil distributed thousands of Remdesivir jabs in Surat. A case has been filed in the Gujarat high court against Patil.

 

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