Not Robinhood: Bombay HC on BJP’s Vikhe Patil Procuring Remdesivir
The Aurangabad bench of the court said while Patil’s action may have saved a few lives, but his path was wrong.
The Bombay High Court pulled up Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha MP Sujay Vikhe Patil for allegedly procuring and unofficially hoarding anti-COVID drug Remdesivir. The High Court noted that the drug is supposed to be distributed equally among patients who need it.
The Aurangabad bench of the court said while Patil's action may have saved some lives, his path was wrong and "this cannot be a Robinhood situation”.
“We are sure lives were saved and the poor and needy benefitted by the actions of the MP. But this cannot be a Robinhood situation where you steal from one group and distribute among another group.”Bombay High Court
"A wrong path followed is ultimately termed as impropriety. Remdesivir injections are supposed to be used and distributed equally among all and not like this," said a division bench headed by Justice Ravindra Ghuge.
The court even pulled up the Ahmednagar district collector for giving a "clean chit" to the MP and said the entire issue must be investigated. However, the court said it is refraining from doing the same at this stage.
"Though we are, at this stage, refraining from forming a final opinion and ordering investigation, we are of the prima facie view that the administration is trying to protect the MP,” the court said.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by four agriculturists seeking criminal action against Patil for alleged unauthorized procurement of 10,000 Remdesivir injections from Delhi and its distribution in Ahmednagar.
In its order, the court noted that the Lok Sabha MP had uploaded video clips and photographs on his social media account, which showed him on a chartered flight, landing at the Shirdi airport and unloading boxes of Remdesivir.
The High Court sought information on the landing and take-off of all private and chartered flights from the Shirdi airport in Ahmednagar district from 10-25 April. The bench has also ordered the CCTV footage of the airport, including the cargo area to be preserved.
Posting the matter for 3 May, the court said, “We will not tolerate any excuse of any footage being lost or the details of the landing and take-off of private flights not available.”
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