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Trinamool MP busts vaccination scam after falling prey; police arrest accused

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on June 23, 2021

The authenticity of the vaccines administered are also to be ascertained

One person was arrested after actor-turned-Trinamool Congress MP, Mimi Chakraborty, complained of a sham vaccination drive in south Kolkata.

The actor, who herself fell for the vaccination drive was a chief guest at the camp that was organised by the accused, who allegedly posed as an IAS officer associated with the city civic body.

The arrested has been identified as Debanjan Deb and has been remanded in police custody. He had reportedly been running two-three camps elsewhere in the city for quite some time now. Local doctors and nurses were being reportedly roped-in for the vaccine drives. At least 200-250 people are suspected to have taken vaccines from the camps run by the accused.

The authenticity of the vaccines administered are also to be ascertained.

According to the police, the parliamentarian was invited to a vaccination drive for transgenders and the differently-abled in a South Kolkata locality reportedly by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

‘Suspicion aroused’

Mimi’s suspicion was aroused after she did not receive the message that beneficiaries get post vaccination. The Lok Sabha MP also took the vaccine at the camp. After enquiring, she found that none of the beneficiaries present there received the mandatory post-jab message. It was later found out that the local councillor, Borough chairman or the police were not aware of the vaccination camp. The matter was taken up with the city civic body too.

According to police, the accused Debanjan introduced himself as the joint commissioner of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation during the interrogation, and an identity card of an IAS officer was also shown. However, he was arrested and brought to the police station as there were discrepancies in his statement.

The accused reportedly used fake letter heads to procure vaccines from the State health department; while he claimed to have purchased some from the local wholesale market in Kolkata. “We are ascertaining how he procured the vaccines and also whether actual vaccines were administered or not across the camps. The accused during interrogation said he procured 50-60 vials of the vaccine. But, we doubt the authenticity of the statement. The camps have been organised across the city for some time,” a senior official of the Kolkata Police said adding that “in the particular south Kolkata locality from where the accused was arrested, the camp was running for at least 10-12 days”.

Police are yet to determine the exact reason for his impersonation. “As of now, the accused is claiming it was philanthropy and he was not charging anything. Moreover, he was enjoying impersonating an IAS officer. We have taken him in custody for further questioning to see if it was a money laundering racket or to determine his ulterior motives. There could be more people involved in this ,” the official said.

Published on June 23, 2021

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