Kolkata vaccine fraud: Suvendu Adhikari demands probe by central agencies

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BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. (Photo/ANI)
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. (Photo/ANI)

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], June 26 (ANI): West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari on Friday wrote to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan demanding a probe by Central agencies into the alleged COVID-19 vaccination fraud case in Kolkata.

In the letter, Adhikari alleged that the man behind the illegal vaccination camps posing as an IAS officer, Debanjan Deb, had influence in the ruling party and questioned the impartiality of the Special Investigation Team set up by the Kolkata Police to probe the case.

"Decorated with trademark blue and white balloons characteristic of TMC (Trinamool Congress) government events, these camps had already been held in Amherst Street, Sonarpur and hundreds of persons have already been inoculated in these camps," he said in the letter.

He further said that while copies of Aadhaar cards were procured from the recipients in Kasba, none of them received any certificate of vaccination.

Adhikari further asked if the shots really were Covishield vaccines as being claimed by Deb and if so, flagged pilferage of Covid vaccines from government stock.

"This cannot happen without the complicity of top civic authorities. If these were not Covid vaccines, then immediate investigation needs to be done as to what was being administered at such a large scale," he said.

There are several 'incriminating' photos suggestive of the accused's influence in the ruling party, the Leader of Opposition said, alleging that Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim, minister Subrata Mukherjee, MP Santanu Sen and several others had been seen 'directly or indirectly endorsing the activities of Debanjan Deb'.

"In such a situation with so many influential ruling party leaders and government representatives being seen in close proximity to the accused, we have serious doubts about an impartial investigation from Kolkata Police that follows the instructions of the same government... I sincerely urge you to order a thorough investigation by concerned central agencies into this vaccination fraud and punish the guilty," he wrote.

Earlier on Friday, an SIT was formed by the Police to investigate the matter two days after TMC MP Mimi Chakraborty was duped in the fake vaccination drive. Deb was subsequently arrested based on Chakraborty's complaint.

IMA State Secretary and TMC MP Dr Santanu Sen had said that when they realised that Deb was a fraud, an FIR was filed with the Muchipara police station and stringent action requested.

"It is an organised crime and police is taking its own course. I believe (Kolkata Municipal) Corporation has taken a significant role in reaching to beneficiaries to collect information whether they are having any side effects or not," Dr Sen said.

Sayantan Basu, West Bengal BJP General Secretary, meanwhile, demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the matter and said that the case requires CBI inquiry as it involves officials. (ANI)

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