Mumbai Police and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday launched separate investigations after a housing society in suburban Kandivali suspected “fraud” by some persons who had organised a COVID-19 vaccination camp for its members by claiming to represent a private hospital and also expressed apprehension that the vaccine that was administered could be spurious, police and civic officials said.
A senior police officer said no FIR has been registered so far but the police will probe the case from different angles.
“We have not registered an FIR in this case and have not arrested anybody. We have also not detained anybody. We are just investigating,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, zone 11, Vishal Thakur told PTI. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) additional commissioner Suresh Kakani has directed Vishwas Shankarwar, deputy municipal commissioner of region 7, to conduct a detailed probe and submit a report within the next 48 hours, an official statement said.
In a complaint submitted to the police, the Hiranandani Heritage Residents’ Welfare Association (HHRWA) had said that a vaccination camp was arranged by the residential complex on May 30. But later it found that the Co-WIN portal did not have any record of the people who participated and they received certificates in the name of different hospitals.
“If the vaccine is found to be spurious, the people who got vaccinated will have a medical emergency to deal with. Therefore, there is an urgent need to investigate the whole episode so that such fraudulent activities are not repeated at other places,” the complaint said.
The HHRWA had organized the camp through a person who claimed to be a sales representative of a reputed private hospital in suburban Andheri. As many as 390 members received the jabs at the camp at Rs 1,260 per person, it had said in the complaint which stated that some unscrupulous elements have taken the society for a ride.
They were shocked to receive vaccination certificates in the name of Nanavati Hospital, Lifeline Hospital and NESCO Covid Camp, among others, it said. Nanavati Hospital had said in a statement that it had not conducted any such vaccination camp.
“We have informed the authorities and are lodging a formal complaint,” said its spokesperson on Tuesday. The HHRWA also said that none of the people who got vaccinated had the usual after-effects like fever or body ache.
According to the complaint, one Sanjay Gupta was the coordinator for the camp, but he did not give receipts for the payment for vaccines. He had asked the association to make payment to one Mahendra Singh. The housing society also said that members of the vaccinating team had no laptops or other equipment.
Local BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar had also demanded that police conduct a thorough probe.
The BMC has made signing a Memorandum of Understanding between private vaccination providers and housing societies mandatory if such camps are organized. The civic body also appealed to housing societies to ensure due diligence by verifying various aspects before conducting a vaccination camp in collaboration with private vaccination centres.
The BMC said each private vaccination center is given a registration number by the Co-WIN system, and the housing societies should contact the medical health officers and crosscheck about the registration of the private vaccination centres. Societies should also check the identity cards of the employees of private centres while conducting vaccination camps, it said. Besides this, the citizens should also insist on getting digital certificates immediately after vaccination, the civic body added.