MP health official's driver held for illegal Remdesivir sale

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Indore, May 18 (PTI) The driver of Indore's District Health Officer has been arrested on charges of black marketing Remdesivir, a key anti-viral drug used for treatment of COVID-19, police said on Tuesday.

The accused, Punit Agrawal (27), was arrested on Monday night, Vijay Nagar Police Station officer Tehzeeb Qazi said.

He said Agrawal was the driver of a vehicle allotted to District Health Officer Purnima Gadaria.

The vehicle, belonging to a private travel agency, was hired by the Madhya Pradesh health department.

Qazi said two injections of Remdesivir were recovered from Agrawal, who was allegedly trying to sell them to families of COVID-19 patients at rates higher than the maximum retail price (MRP).

Remdesivir's demand has shot up nationwide during the second wave of COVID-19, leading to its black marketing.

'The call records of Agrawals mobile phone are being scrutinised to find out if he had illegally sold Remdesivir injections prior to his arrest and people he was in touch with,' the police officer said.

On the other hand, Gadaria said she has nothing to do with the matter.

The district health officer said, 'Agrawal is an employee of a private travel agency which rents out vehicles to the health department on a contract basis. I have nothing to do with his activities after his duty hours.

Gadaria, attached to the Office of the Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO), was in news on May 5 when she resigned from government service, accusing Indore District Collector Manish Singh of rude behaviour.

Gadarias resignation was not accepted and Singh subsequently expressed regret for his behaviour.

Indore, the worst-hit COVID-19 district in Madhya Pradesh, has so far (till May 17) reported 1,40,447 cases, including 1,274 fatalities. PTI HWP ADU RSY RSY