Covid vaccine scam: BMC asks SII to verify batch of Covishield vials used in Mumbai housing society

The BMC is trying to find out from where the accused got the vials for the immunisation drive at Mumbai's Hiranandani Heritage housing society. Supply chain of vials can be tracked from the batch number printed on the surface of the bottles of the vials.

UPDATED: June 21, 2021 09:05 IST

In order to ascertain whether the vaccines administered to the residents of Mumbai’s Hiranandani Heritage housing society were genuine or fake, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Sunday wrote to Serum Institute of India (SII) and sought details of the batch number of the Covishield vials used in the immunisation camp.

“We have sent an email to SII mentioning the batch numbers of the vaccine vials to find out which hospital supplied the same,” said a senior BMC official. “After receiving a reply from the manufacturer our inquiry can move in multiple directions,” he added.

BMC is trying to find out from where the accused got the vials. The supply chain of vials can be tracked from the batch number printed on the surface of the bottles of the vials.

“If the vials were given to a particular hospital, we will check if these vials were supplied to Hiranandani Heritage by that particular hospital. If not, then the police will have to find out how the accused got those vials. The possibility of black marketing cannot be denied. We will look into the aspect to find out if these vaccines were diverted from vaccine centres. If the vials have been procured from outside the state, then we also have to verify how they were supplied in the city,” added the official.

BMC on Saturday issued an official statement saying that no legal protocols were followed in the immunisation drive. The vaccination drive was termed to be ‘unauthorised and illegal’.

Four persons have been arrested in the case so far. Police said they have found that vaccine doses administered to residents of the Hiranandani Heritage Society were not purchased from an authorised source.

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Vaccine ‘scam’

About 390 residents of Hiranandani Heritage Club in Kandivali (West) in the western suburbs were vaccinated against Covid-19 on May 30, 2021. The beneficiaries paid a total of Rs 4,56,000 which amounted to Rs 1,260 for each dose. However, the vaccinating team did not have laptops and the vaccine beneficiaries received certificates in the name of different hospitals. The residents lodged a complaint with the police as they grew suspicious.

Although a total of 390 people were given the suspected vaccine, only 120 residents received vaccination certificates. The names of three different hospitals were on the certificates. However, an inquiry conducted by these hospitals has revealed that the concerned have not entered into any agreement with these hospitals and these hospitals have nothing to do with the said vaccination. It has also come to light that the circular issued by the BMC on May 7, 2021, regarding the guidelines to be followed by the housing societies for vaccination had not been complied with and no permission had been sought from the concerned authorities for organizing the vaccination camp.

Overall, it has been revealed that the vaccination drive was done fraudulently. Not only this but it has also been pointed out that fake certificates were issued by stealing the user ID and password to issue the vaccination certificates and the suspected vaccine had been obtained in an unauthorized manner. As a result, Kandivali police have registered a case under the Indian Penal Code as well as the Infectious Diseases Act along with the Information Technology Act. Further investigation is also underway.

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