Amid reports of threats against Adar Poonawalla, a criminal petition was filed before the Bombay High Court on Wednesday seeking Z-plus category security for the Serum Institute of India CEO and his family members.
The plea was filed by Mumbai lawyer Datta Mane seeking a higher level of security for Poonawalla, who has alleged that he has been receiving threats over supply of Covid-19 vaccine Covishield. It further sought the court’s directions to the Commissioner of Pune Police and Director General of Maharashtra Police to register an FIR against those issuing threats to the businessman.
Poonawalla, who is currently in London, has been granted Y-level security cover. However, the lawyer contended that it was inadequate as the SII CEO left the country after such security was provided.
The plea, based on news reports, said, “Mr. Poonawalla was getting aggressive calls from powerful people including chief ministers, business tycoons demanding instant supplies of Covishield which is among the two vaccines being used in the mass inoculation drive in India."
The plea also quoted Poonawalla’s statement from an interview given to ‘The Times’: “Threats is an understatement. The phone calls are the worst thing. The level of expectation and aggression is really unprecedented. It’s overwhelming. Everyone feels they should get the vaccine. They can’t understand why anyone should get it before them."
Appealing for the protection of the businessman, the plea stated, “If Adar Poonawalla is out of India, due to fear to his life, then it will be ship in storm without its captain."
Mane sought a thorough independent investigation into the threat calls to the SII chief and said the call detail records need to be retrieved to find the offenders. He said has also filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Police, Pune, and the Director General of Police by email on May 3.