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Kolkata vaccination scam: A serial scamster suffers the side-effects of his fake jabs

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on July 10, 2021

Hundreds including MP Mimi Chakraborty took the fake vaccine

An IAS officer supervising free vaccination camps, distributing masks, hob-nobbing with politicians in power, et all. Fits in with the new normal in Kolkata - just that, the IAS officer was a fraud– a serial scamster – who recently administered 600-odd shots of amikacin, an anti-bacterial drug, in the name of Covid-19 vaccine Covishield.

One of the vaccine recipients was Trinamool Congress MP, Mimi Chakraborty, who busted the scam on not receiving the mandatory post-vaccination messages from Cowin. And

Kolkata police say, there have not been any side-effects reported from others who were jabbed. The process of identifying beneficiaries is still on.

The accused arrested on Tuesday night and identified as 28-year-old Debanjan Deb, organized vaccination camps in at least two prominent Kolkata localities. And preliminary findings say, the accused would administer amikacin, used to treat bacterial infections, joint infections, intra-abdominal infections, meningitis, pneumonia, sepsis, and urinary tract infections.

Denbanjan procured amikacin - generic versions - from the local wholesale medical markets flaunting his “IAS identity”. Once he got the vials, he managed a copy of the Covishield logo and labels and got it printed privately.

“Debanjan’s office was raided and a large number of vials of amicacin injection vials / bottles were found. Fake labels of CoviShield were pasted on it. The design was found (of Covidshield labels) was found in his computer too. Prints and copies of such fake labels were impounded too,” a senior official investigating the case told BusinessLine.

Do-gooder gone bad

Senior officials say, the accused, despite failing to clear UPSC exams, claimed to be an IAS officer since 2018, primarily, due to “societal pressure”.

During the first wave of Covid last year, he entered into the business of masks and sanitisers earning a “handsome profit”. Subsequently, he set-up an NGO – yet to be registered - and employed 12-14 people. But, all through, Debanjan was a regular social worker who sponsored community kitchens, distributed food, masks, santisers and so on. Through his activities he was in touch with senior politicians, police personnel and other influential people.

As the word about his “good deeds” spread, he started using beacon cars, security guards, logos of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and other official documents like letter heads.

“During the second wave, he was approached by many, including his staff, to arrange for vaccines. They all thought he was an IAS with right connections. He enjoyed the popularity, adulation and attention that he was being showered. Soon he fell in his own trap,” police said.

Forgery

To finance his philanthropy, the accused resorted to forgery and bribes. He would approach KMC contractors promising them lucrative contracts in lieu of cash. In one case, he allegedly conned a contractor of Rs 36,00,000 and another of Rs 10,00,000.

“We have sought details of his bank transactions to see if other financial angles are there,” Murlidhar Sharma, Joint Commissioner, Crime, Kolkata Police, said. Investigation is also on to probe a larger vaccine scam nexus is at work.

 

Published on June 25, 2021

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