Kolkata: Medics administer the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a specially-abled person during a vaccination drive in Kolkata on Sunday 13 June, 2021. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/ IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Mumbai, June 16 : Following a furore, the Mumbai Police and the BrihanMumbai Muncipal Corporatin have launched independent investigations into an alleged fraud in a posh Kandivali housing complex where a private vaccination drive was undertaken two weeks ago, an official said.

BMC Additonal Commissioner Suresh Kakani directed Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vishwas Shankarwar to complete an enquiry and submit the report within 48 hours.

"We are probing the matter after the society's complaint, but so far, there is no FIR lodged nor any detentions or arrests," a police official said, even as the incident made other housing complexes do a rethink of their plans for private inoculation efforts.

According to the residents of the Hiranandani Heritage Society (435 flats in three towers) in Kandivali west, a fraudster allegedly carried out the vaccination drive for 390 people comprising society members and their families, in-house staff like security guards, drivers or domestic helpers on May 30.

It was conducted through a couple of facilitators, Rajesh Pandey and Sanjay Gupta, who claimed to represent leading private institutions like the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) and the Nanavati Hospital- and agreed to provide 400 vaccine doses for around Rs 1,260 each, for which the society paid around Rs 5 lakh.

However, top authorities of the KDAH and the Nanavati Hospital have stated that they had nothing to do with the entire drive as claimed by the agents, they were not approached by the society and they did not contemplate any further steps in the matter like lodging a police complaint.

The doubts started after the inoculation drive was over, as none of the beneficiaries were given the vaccination certificates, and many of the residents noticed that the vials bore a red stamp 'Not For Sale'.

Gupta assured that the certificates would be given after 3-4 days, and when many of them finally got them after June 8, they were found to be generated from different hospitals in the city, without the date of May 30, when the inoculation was carried out.

Many of the residents checked their status on CoWin and were shocked to learn that they were yet to get their first vaccine dose, which set alarm bells ringing among the society members and others planning to take up similar drives on their premises.

"We have approached the Kandivali police in the matter. We are very worried. We don't know what was administered to us in the name of the Covid vaccine. We also did not develop the normal side-effects post-inoculation, adding to our doubts," one of the residents said.

Local BJP leaders like Yogesh Sagar alleged that there could be a nexus between the BMC and unscrupulous elements in such private drives and the beneficiaries must make full enquiries before getting lured by such offers.

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