Cricketer-turned-politician and an MLA from Bharatiya Janata Party, Gautam Gambhir was on Thursday found to be guilty of unauthorisedly stocking and giving Fabiflu drug to Covid-19 patients, Delhi’s drug controller body said in the Delhi high court. Appearing for the drug controller, advocate Nandita Rao said the cricketer’s group, Gautam Gambhir Foundation, committed an offence under Drugs and Cosmetics Act as it was found stocking medicine in an unauthorised manner.
The body also found Aam Aadmi Party’s MLA Praveen Kumar guilty under the same act. The court asked Rao whether the status report submitted by the drug controller was in relation to Gambhir only or “does it relate to Praveen Kumar also?”
“Status report deals with MLA Praveen Kumar also and we have found him guilty too,” Rao said in a response to the court.
Delhi HC asks them to take action against these people as well as others saying that an example needs to be set. “We want you to take action against these violation in terms of your report so that an example is set,” the court said.
It also directed the body to file a status report on the same. The matter has been listed for further hearing on July 29.
The court was hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Deepak Kumar, seeking a first information report (FIR) against Gambhir and others involved in the matter.
Acting on the PIL, the high court on May 7, directed Delhi Police to carry out an investigation in the alleged hoarding of oxygen cylinders and medicines like Fabiflu. The court later asked the drug controller to carry out an independent probe into the matter after Delhi police gave a clean-chit to Gambhir and nine others involved in the case.
In the status report submitted to the court on May 31, Rao said Gambhir through his foundation organised a medical camp from April 22 to May 7 with the help of Garg Hospital and that while there was no prescription, a request letter by the hospital was sent to the foundation. She said based on the letter of April 19, Gambhir made a purchase order from a licensed dealer.
Further speaking on the matter, the court said that the drug controller made the amendment to the report which clearly shows that it was “trying to protect these people.” “When we rapped you then you came out with the truth. It is clearly evident… Don’t put a brave face today. We find that you had made a mistake and the good thing is that you have rectified your mistake,” it said during he hearing.
“We want to curb these practice,” it also said, adding, “Just because some people have money and they can easily buy, does not mean that they would be hoarding.”
“You (Gautam Gambhir) did a charity and tried to help the people, but in that you caused a shortage because of which genuine patients could not get the medicine. There could have been other ways of helping people,” the court also said.
On May 31, the high court pulled up the drug controller for giving a clean chit Gambhir and Kumar for hoarding Covid-19 supplies. Calling the drug’s controller’s status report on the enquiry on Gambhir and Kumar “trash,” a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said, “You want us to shut our eyes to it. You think you will get away with this kind of a false statement. Don’t we know what the situation on ground was like? One thing is very clear. You cannot take us for a ride. If you think we are gullible, so naive; we are not. We will give it back to you very, very hard.”
Rejecting the status report, the court said it has “fundamental error” as “the manner in which you have conducted the investigation is questionable.”