Four arrests have been made in a case of an alleged 'fake vaccination camp' that was organised by a housing society in Mumbai. Mumbai Police recorded statements of residents and then made the arrests after registering a case. Now, film producer Ramesh Taurani too has a reason to suspect that he has been scammed and that a vaccination camp he organised for his employees could have been victim of a similar racket.
Mr Taurani, who heads Tips Industries Limited, had organised a camp for 365 employees on May 30 and June 3. But they are yet to receive a vaccination certificate.
"Yes, we are still waiting for the certificates and when my office people contacted him (Sanjay Gupta from SP Events), he said it will come by this Saturday (June 12). We got 356 people vaccinated and paid Rs. 1,200 per dose plus GST. But more than the money, now we are worried about what was given to us. Is it genuine Covishield or any saline water?" he said.
"We were told we would get the vaccination certificate from Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital (in Mumbai)."
The housing society in Kandivali suburb had complained to police that it was apparently cheated by some persons who organised a COVID-19 vaccination camp for its members by claiming to represent a private hospital, and the vaccine that was administered could be spurious.
The Hiranandani Heritage Residents Welfare Association (HHRWA) has sought an investigation into the matter.
A vaccination camp was arranged by the residential complex on May 30. But later, residents found that the Co-WIN portal did not have any record of the people who participated and they received certificates in the name of different hospitals. A private hospital had denied that it had held such a camp at the society.
Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner (western suburbs), has directed Deputy Municipal Commissioner (DMC) Vishwas Shankarwar to conduct the probe and asked for a report in 48 hours.
Additional Commmissioner of Police Dilip Sawant said: "Four persons have been caught including the man who organised the vaccination camp, and those who helped with the certificate that was generated and stolen from the hospital by feeding the names of the members of the society and preparing a forged certificate."
With the four suspects arrested, the police claim they have managed to piece together their roles in the conspiracy. Mahendra Singh, the police believe, is the mastermind behind the scam. The police said Mahendra Singh did not complete his schooling but has worked in the medical industry for years, and hatched the plan by using his contacts.
The second accused, Sanjay Gupta, was associated with an event management company and he helped set up camps in the housing societies and at other places.
Lalit Singh alias Chandan and Nitin Monde were involved in creating fake certificates by stealing data from hospitals, the police said. Another accused, Karim Akbar Ali, who was arrested from Madhya Pradesh, used to make arrangements for the vaccine, police sources said.
A search is on for one more accused, Rajesh Pandey, who allegedly identified himself as the public relations officer of reputed hospitals in the city and convinced people to set up the vaccination camps. A doctor is also under the scanner and a search is on for him, the police said.