Ventilator-manufacturer AgVa Healthcare today hit back at Rahul Gandhi, saying the former Congress chief is not a doctor and they would be "happy to give him a demonstration" of their product. Some of the ventilators procured to tackle the coronavirus outbreak have been bought from indigenous manufacturer AgVa through the PMCares fund, in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Self-Reliant India" initiative.
Mr Gandhi, who has been continuing his attack on the government over the handling of the pandemic, had accused it of purchasing sub-standard products. His July 5 tweet on the subject read: "#PMCares opacity is: 1. Putting Indian lives at risk. 2. Ensuring public money is used to buy sub-standard products."
Professor Diwakar Vaish, co-founder AgVa Healthcare, said, "Rahul Gandhi is not a doctor. He is an intelligent man. He should have done due diligence before making such allegations. He should have consulted doctors. I am ready to give a detailed demonstration in the hospital on any patient," reported news agency ANI.
Mr Gandhi had tagged a news report from Huffpost, headlined, "PMCARES Ventilator Maker AgVa Fudged Software To Hide Poor Performance, Ex-Employees Say". Huffpost reported that doctors have said that these ventilators -- designed and modified for coronavirus treatment -- are no substitute to high-end ventilators.
The allegations, Mr Vaish said, were a result of upsetting the foreign cartel which supplies high-end ventilators to India.
"In this, international vendor nexus is very strong. Just like when Indian military equipment was indigenised, there was a lot of negative reviews. The same thing is happening here. What a Rs 10 lakh ventilator does, ours is doing for Rs 1.5 lakh. Will international associations, international vendors accept this? That is why they are trying to sabotage," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Delhi's LNJP Hospital did not reject the AgVa ventilator, Mr Vaish said.
"As far as Mumbai is concerned, JJ Hospital and St George Hospital got the installation done through a third-party. They did not install it properly. Hence, their doctors could not use it. If you put diesel instead of petrol, what would happen?" ANI quoted him as saying.
The central government ordered 10,000 COVID-model ventilators from AgVa Healthcare as part of India's preparations to control the pandemic. The funds had come from PMCares, which the Congress earlier said was run like a "seemingly personal" fund of the Prime Minister that's not even subjected to audit by any public authority, or the Right To Information Act.
Rahul Gandhi has targeted PMCares Fund earlier also.
"Why is Indian testing so low? Because PM does not care," the Congress leader tweeted, alluding to the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund or PMCARES Fund.
"India is simply not testing enough to fight the #Covid19 virus. Making people clap & shining torches in the sky isn't going to solve the problem," his tweet read.