By Pragya Kaushika
New Delhi [India], June 5 (ANI): Mounting a sharp attack on the Congress government in Punjab over an alleged "vaccine profiteering scam", Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday accused it of "trying to make money at the cost of people" in the situation created by COVID-19 and demanded its dismissal.
Badal today said that he will meet Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore to demand the dismissal of the Congress government.
The SAD leader said if needed, his party would approach the court for probe into the decision to sell vaccines to private hospitals. Badal had earlier demanded High Court-monitored probe in the alleged scam. Following uproar and backlash, Punjab government on Saturday withdrew its order providing "one-time limited vaccine doses to 18-44 age group population through private hospitals".
"We are going to meet the Governor. We are going to approach the Court that this scam needs to be examined. All decision-makers need to be prosecuted and I would urge the Governor to dismiss this government," Badal said.
The former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister told ANI that officials, ministers or the chief minister, "no one can't wash their hands off from the scam".
Badal also accused the state government of giving a false number of COVID-19 deaths. "While the official count of deaths is 15000, the unofficial figure would be between 50,000 to 60,000. The Chief Minister should cut down on other expenditures and go from village to village, town to town to get everyone vaccinated," he said.
Badal slammed Punjab Health Minister BS Sidhu for his remarks that he the SAD leader had got "vaccine worth Rs 62,000 administered" after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Badal said he is disgusted at the remarks of the minister.
"He needs to be sacked immediately. A case should be registered against him for big financial scam of profiteering from vaccines which were being given to private people," the SAD leader said.
"He (Sidhu) may mock because he knows the ground realities," Badal said, adding that vaccines were being provided "at a hefty amount" in Punjab.
"I have been raising this issue. private hospitals charging in lakhs. There is no oxygen available and the government isn't doing anything. How can he mock?" he asked.
The MP from Ferozepur also expressed his disappointment at the Centre's handling of COVID-19 situation, saying people had faced shortage of oxygen, medicines and vaccines.
"Government of India has completely failed in dealing with the second wave of COVID-19. And I don't think they have any plan to tackle the third wave as well. The Centre should learn from western countries how they handled COVID-19. Everyone wants to take financial advantage of the situation," Badal alleged.
He said COVID-19 situation "is quite grim" especially in the rural areas. (ANI)