Courts Update Delhi HC expresses displeasure over DCGI report on drug...

Delhi HC expresses displeasure over DCGI report on drug hoarding by politicians

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New Delhi, May 31 (ILNS) Amid the Novel Coronavirus pandemic crisis, the Delhi High Court today expressed deep displeasure with regards to the report submitted by the Drug Controller General of India pertaining to Drug/ Oxygen hoarding by Politicians Gautam Gambhir, Praveen Kumar and Preety Tomar.

On last hearing, the scope of investigation was shifted from Delhi Police to DCGI and the latter was directed to file a report as to how certain medicines were procured by the politicians, when there was an acute shortage of the same in the city last month.

The Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh, while rejecting the report submitted by the DCGI, observed that there was a fundamental flaw in the manner the investigation was conducted and the report has no legal basis. The Bench then directed to file a fresh report regarding the same before this Thursday’s hearing.

Justice Sanghi bashed at the counsel of DCGI Nandita Rao, when she read from the report, stating that there was no shortage of medicine like Favipiravir and Fabiflu at that time when Gautam Gambhir Foundation procured it and they simply saved the lives of thousands.

“We will not take such arguments. He interjected the normal flow of medicines… If you are appearing for Drug Controller, just argue on their behalf…This is Trash, there is no legal basis to it…This is a disservice, they appear to be saviour, when they are doing wrong… On asking, the person (Gautam Gambhir) is saying he will do it again… The person needs to realise what they are doing? How you are adversely impacting thousands of needy people who would have otherwise went to Chemist and purchased it but it was not available at the Chemist. He bought more than required. How can you say there was no shortage of supply?”

“We are not gullible, we are not naive, and we will not entertain this kind of attitude. If you can’t do your work we will suspend you. Where is your drug comptroller (officer)?”

The Drug Controller in its report stated that the procurement by Gautam Gambhir Foundation was an exception and the letter by Gupta Hospital to the Foundation for the arrangement of medicines was treated as a prescription under the exceptions given in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

It was a clear cut scenario that the Bench was utterly dissatisfied by the report. Amicus Curiae Senior Advocate Raj Shekhar Rao extracted out a few discrepancies in the report.

He pointed out the question as to how the Doctor from Gupta Hospital reached to the number of medicines required even before he knew who the patients were. Also, there is no record for day-to-day requirement.

He then pointed out that the data was incomplete and the patients were administered with the left outs of the batch, even after the camp was over and there was no record of it as well.

Petitioner Virag Gupta argued that the report simply showed that the whole inquiry was bogus. He pointed out that the correct procedure was that the medicines are procured only after a Medical Professional administers the patient and measures the requirement.

He then stated that when normal people are punished for doing the similar task, how a VIP class is violating the statute and giving statements in public that he will do it again. Justice Sanghi made it clear that the Bench is not there to give punishment.

The Bench, on statements made by the Counsel of Preety Tomar (AAP MLA) observed that the situation in case of Tomar is different than Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumar, where investigation is required. Tomar’s husband and former MLA Jitendra Singh Tomar accepted that he arranged oxygen to save lives of five infants.

The Bench further observed that though the channel should not be disturbed and they should have contacted the nodal officer, which would have been the right way, but here the emergency is visible. The Court stated that they saw no illegality with respect to Tomar’s case and are satisfied by the report.

The Bench observed that there are certain factual contradictions, which appear from two reports by Delhi Police and the DCGI, respectively.

The Court further observed that the report misses the aspects like how the foundation procured these medicines from licensed dealers/ retailers, status report doesn’t disclose as to what are the statutory regulations with respect to locus of the person, who can procure the said drug, can these drug be supplied to unauthorised person?

The bench directed a proper inquiry in this matter and a fresh report that answers to questions pointed out by the Petitioner and Amicus relating to factual and legal provisions in this regard concerning Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumarbefore 3rd June. ILNS/AKS/RJ

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