Vaccine scam : Mumbai’s Hiranandani Society residents & matchbox production employees receive fake COVID-19 vaccine dose

The residents of Mumbai’s Hiranandani Heritage society in Kandivali have alleged that they were victims of a ‘vaccination scam’. The residents have alleged that they were inoculated with fake vaccine doses during a vaccination drive that was carried out on May 30. The society, Hiranandani Heritage Residents Welfare Association (HHRWA), has sought an investigation into the matter.

Residents stated that a facilitator, Rajesh Pandey, got in touch with society committee members claiming to be a representative of Kokilaben Ambani Hospital. The vaccination drive was coordinated by one Sanjay Gupta, while a third person, Mahendra Singh, collected the money in cash from the society members.

Hitesh Patel, a resident of the housing society, said, “My son got himself vaccinated. For each dose, we paid Rs 1,260. After getting the vaccine, we did not receive any messages. I would like to point out that we were not allowed to take photos or selfies while getting vaccinated.”At Rs 1260 per dose and 390 people receiving the vaccine, the society paid around Rs 5 lakh to the facilitator.Suspicions arose when none of the inoculated persons developed any post-jab symptoms.

Another society member Hrishabh Kamdar said, “We were shocked that there were no symptoms or side effects. We started wondering what was going on because we did not even get our certificates. We only received the certificate after 10-15 days.”

The Mumbai Police has detained three people who were allegedly carrying out fraudulent Covid-19 vaccination drives in the city. 

One of them (Rajesh Pandey) is an employee of the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. He used to approach different societies and private workplace saying he is an employee of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and can help them organise a vaccination drive.The hospital has distanced itself from him saying he was acting in his individual capacity. His services have also been terminated.

The second person involved in the racket has been identified as Sanjay Gupta. It is learnt that he is associated with an event management company and would bring additional clients for these drives.

The third accused in the case is Mahendra Singh. He is a former chief of a local medical association in Mumbai. The police suspect he was the one who would arrange vaccine supplies with the help of the other two group members.

At present, they are being questioned and their statements are being recorded. Sources say the accused were organising such vaccination drives at various societies, colleges and workplaces in the city.

Soon after the expose, a production house in the city alleged that their staff too were duped in a similar manner.

Matchbox Production House alleged that nearly 150 employees and their family members were “vaccinated” with Covishield on May 29 in Mumbai. The vaccination drive was organised by the same group that is now accused of having organised a fake drive at the Hiranandani Estate Society in Kandivali, Mumbai.

The production house said its employees feel cheated and are worried about the substance injected into their bodies in the name of Covid-19 vaccine.

Just like the victims at the Hiranandani Estate Society, the production house employees too said they did not experience any post-vaccination symptoms that are commonly reported among vaccine beneficiaries.

Besides this, they said they were not provided with any vaccination certificates until June 12.

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