Mumbai Police have arrested four persons and detained one for allegedly duping a housing society in suburban Kandivali by organising a Covid-19 vaccination camp fraudulently in the name of a private hospital. The police said on Friday that those who were running this fake vaccination camp had organised such drives at nine locations.
The fake vaccination drive could have impacted over 2,000 beneficiaries, as per preliminary findings. “The Hiranandani Heritage Residents Welfare Association (HHRWA) decided to carry out a vaccination drive and reached out to a person of a reputed hospital. But that person got a mediator and then conducted the drive through some other person. This vaccination drive had no Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) permission. In fact, the BMC has a detailed guidelines for carrying out any vaccination drive. In this case, no qualified doctor was present during the drive if some member would require medical care," said Dilip Sawant, Additional CP, North Region during a press conference.
The vaccination camp was organised at the club house of the society on May 30 and each member had paid Rs 1,260 per dose, he said, adding that the society had collectively paid a total of Rs 4.56 lakh to the camp organisers.
The matter came to fore after some members of this society approached to the police as suspicion grew over the certificates they received. Nearly 390 residents had received a jab on May 30 and many of them got their vaccination certificates from different hospitals.
Hitesh Patel, resident of Hiranandani Heritage said, “None of our members got any symptoms and also we had to pay in cash. At that point of time, we doubted it."
The members had also expressed fears that the vaccine administered could be spurious. “We really want to know what has been injected in our bodies. Six members in my family have taken a shot. What if something happens to all of us? Who is responsible?" asked another member of this suburban society.
Meanwhile, Kandivali police has filed an FIR and probing the matter. Four accused, who had organised this fake vaccination drive and manipulated the Co-WIN app, have been arrested. The police has also detained a person from Madhya Pradesh who is said to be responsible for procuring the vaccines for such fraud vaccination drives.
“The authenticity of the vaccine is not ascertained. Investigation reveals vaccine had no seal, based on which we have added adulteration of vaccine act. Certificates are generated on Co-WIN app. Names of the recipient are correct but date, time and place are different. So I can say it is a forged document," said Sawant.
Meanwhile, Tips Industries, a production house in Mumbai, has also issued a statement indicating that they could have been cheated by such fake Covid-19 vaccination drive. The police is yet to ascertain if production houses in the city were also cheated by these arrested accused or not.
Both police and BMC are probing the matter to find out the source of vaccine or a racket involved.