Mumbai’s civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has ordered a detailed inquiry into an alleged vaccination scam at a residential complex in Mumbai’s Kandivali area.
Residents of Hiranandani Heritage building in Kandivali have alleged that they might have been victims of a scam, as they were allegedly administered fake COVID19 vaccines.
BMC, in a statement, added that the team that conducted the vaccination drive didn't have a laptop either and residents didn’t show any symptoms. Noting that the incident is serious, BMC has directed a deputy municipal commissioner (DMC) to conduct the inquiry and the fact-finding report has to be submitted to the civic body within 48 hours.
According to the residents, the society committee organised a vaccination drive in the building premises on May 30. Residents were allegedly told that the vaccination was being done through a tie-up with Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute (KDAH) and on the day of the drive, 390 residents were administered a dose of Covishield at the cost of Rs 1,260 per person.
Residents allege that this was organised through an individual named Rajesh Pandey by the society committee. It is yet unclear through whom Rajesh Pandey contacted the committee.
KDAH said in a statement that Rajesh Pandey was an employee of the hospital, who illegally and without authorisation was involved in the fraudulent activity.
“Rajesh Pandey deceitfully misused the name of the hospital in concert with external individuals and institutions who are not connected in any way with KDAH. The vaccination drives where Rajesh Pandey was involved in his personal capacity were done without the knowledge of KDAH and without the hospital’s trained medical personnel and resources,” Dr. Santosh Shetty, Executive Director and CEO of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute told CNBC-TV18.
Dr Shetty reiterated that Pandey was not involved in any aspect of the COVID vaccination programme being carried out at KDAH and had no access to the CoWIN platform and supplies being used for the vaccination program or any related data.
“His actions comprise a serious breach of our policies and code of conduct. We have terminated his services, have reported his misdemeanours and are fully cooperating with the authorities in their investigation,” he added.
Hitesh Patel, a resident, told CNBC-TV18 that they first started having doubts when none of the residents experienced any side effects post the jab, not even soreness in the arm.
Patel said that the residents have filed a primary complaint with the Kandivali police station and claim that the police has detained two individuals in the matter. However, CNBC-TV18 wasn’t able to independently verify the same yet.
“We don’t know if what we got is a real vaccine or fake. Some residents were given the certificate, but not everyone got it. Even those who got it, got it with different hospital names and different dates,” Patel added.
Neha Alshi, a resident who tweeted about the incident, added that the certificates mentioned Lifeline hospital and Nanavati hospital. There was no mention of Kokilaben Ambani hospital anywhere, which further raised their suspicion.
Alshi added that when they contacted Nanavati hospital, they too denied any involvement.
*IMPORTANT*This tweet is to bring into notice a SCAM. Retweet.Our society, Hiranandani Heritage, Kandivali West, organised a vaccination drive for all members on the 30th Of May. Everyone was told there was a tie-up with Kokilaben Hospital. @KDAHMumbai— Neha Alshi (@neha_alshi) June 14, 2021
In a statement, the hospital said that it didn't conduct any vaccination camp at the said residential complex and has authorities concerned and are lodging a formal complaint regarding the same.
Meanwhile, Dr Shetty of Kokilaben hospital urged everyone to remain alert and verify the authenticity of any vaccination drive being held in their workplace or residential complex before acting on the same or sharing any personal information.
“KDAH conducts vaccination camps at workplaces and residential complexes strictly as per Government rules and guidelines to eligible individuals who register on the CoWIN app,” he added.
First Published: IST