Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 30 (ANI): The Bomaby High Court hearing petition against the alleged illegal procurement and transportation of 10,000 Remdesivir vials by BJP MP Sujay Patil in Delhi-Shirdi chartered flight, directed officials for details of such flights between April 10 to 25. The next hearing is scheduled for May 3, informed the petitioner's lawyer Pradnya Talekar.
The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court stated that while the action of Vikhe Patil, the MP from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, might have saved the lives of poor and needy patients, the path he chose 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," the court observed.
It further said, "Under normal circumstances someone saving lives is appreciable but we want to know if the way the vials were procured is recognised by law or not. But it's not our job to find out if the vials were procedured lawfully or not, it's the job of agencies."
The court said the entire issue needs to be investigated but it was refraining from doing so at this stage though it questioned the Ahmednagar district collector for 'giving a clean chit' to the Member of Parliament.
"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.
"We only want to know how he (Vikhe Patil) procured the vials? How did this man procure the Remdesivir vials surreptitiously and unofficially?" asked Justice Ghuge.
The court, in its order, said that the Lok Sabha MP had uploaded video recordings and photographs on his social media account showing him in a charted flight and landing at the Shirdi airport and unloading boxes of Remdesivir.
"We are not going to proceed unless we have strong material. We are going to go very slowly on initiating criminal proceedings against someone, otherwise from tomorrow there will be a line here tomorrow," the court said.
The court said it has been informed that 300 Remdesivir injections were handed over to the Ahmednagar district hospital, while an undisclosed number of vials was given to the Sai Baba trust-run hospital in Shirdi.
The court said the issue needs to be investigated but said it was refraining from doing so at this stage. "Though we are at this stage refraining from forming any 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 informed by the petitioners advocate, Pradnya Talekar, that on Wednesday Ahmednagar Collector Rajendra Bhosale told the local press that the district hospital had asked Vikhe Patil to procure 1,700 vials of the medicine.
"There seems to be some cover up operation. Why is the collector going to the press and giving a clean chit to the MP? This officer (Collector) should be immediately transferred out of Ahmednagar. The collectors duty is towards the citizens or the MP?" Justice Ghuge asked.
Public prosecutor DR Kale submitted to the court a note prepared by the collector on the issue. As per the note, the 1,700 vials of Remdesivir procured by the district government hospital from Vikhe Patil came from a medical firm in Pune and not Delhi.
The court noted that at this stage it was refraining from forming any final opinion and permitted the collector to file an affidavit clarifying his stand.
The HC directed the state's Principal Secretary (Home) to provide details of landing and take-off of all private and chartered flights from the Shirdi airport in Ahmednagar district from April 10 to April 25.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on May 3. (ANI)