“We really cannot say what it really was in absence of forensic laboratory reports. But we are certain that those were not Covid vaccines,” said a police officer privy to the investigation.
The officer said the main accused, Mahendra Singh, has destroyed his mobile phone and other evidence about what was administered in the name of vaccines. “We have just found the broken screen of Singh’s mobile. We are now looking for other evidence like the vaccination vials and bottles which were reported to be opened during one of the camps.” He added none of the 390 members of the society reported any side effects after getting the purported Covid shots.
The civic body (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) has denied providing any vaccination to the arrested accused. We believe that if the bottles had the actual vaccine, it was procured by Manish Tripathi, who is the sixth accused and is still absconding.
Singh allegedly approached the managing body representing three buildings at a residential complex in Kandivli (West) and offered to set up a vaccination camp.
On May 30, the 390 were administered the vaccines without getting registered on the centralised Co-win portal as per the rules. After seven to eight days, the residents started getting messages about their vaccination certificates. To their surprise, the certificates showed they were vaccinated at two private hospitals and the corporation-run NESCO Jumbo Centre (Goregaon) which does not hold vaccination camps for societies.
The society members got suspicious about the camp after they got certificates from different hospitals rather than the one the vaccines were supposedly procured from and reported the matter to the police.
Police have so far arrested five people including Singh and they are believed to have confessed to having organised such camps in nine other societies.
They registered a third First Information Report on Monday in connection with the vaccination scam. On the basis of a complaint lodged by the firm, police have booked six people. Police said 206 employees of the firm and their family members were administered alleged fake vaccines by the six by charging them ₹2,84,696. The six have been booked for cheating and endangering lives.