Fraud vaccine dealer: Housing society in Kandivali which held COVID-19 vaccination camp for members suspects it was taken for ride

11:30 PM Jun 15, 2021 | Swapnil Mishra

Residents of a housing society in Kandivli claim to have been duped by a fraudster, who supplied them with fake vaccines.

The management committee of Hiranandani Heritage had arranged a Covid vaccination drive for its residents and their in-house staff, including the security guards, drivers and domestic help, on May 30. The society has 435 flats, comprising three residential towers and around 390 residents participated in the drive.


The residents said that a facilitator, Rajesh Pandey, who claimed to be a sales representative from Kokilaben Hospital, negotiated with them for providing 400 vaccine doses on their society premises.


The residents said the doses cost Rs 1,260 each and approximately Rs 5 lakh was paid to the facilitator. “We are not sure about the exact amount that has been paid to the suppliers as it was done by the office bearers of the society but we were told that the charges included service tax and fees for logistical charges,” said a resident, requesting anonymity.

After the drive concluded, the residents said, no certificates were generated for the beneficiaries. They also said that the vials from which the doses were administered had 'Not For Sale' written on them.

“There was a coordinator called Sanjay Gupta, who said certificate generation would take three-four days. We were surprised to hear this as many other residents who had taken the vaccines had told us that certificates get generated on the same day,” said the resident.

However, said the resident, after June 8, they began to receive certificates on their phones.

“It appeared that the certificate was being generated from various hospitals - some had NESCO written on them, while others had Lifeline and Nanavati written. Also, the dates on the certificates were different and not May 30, 2021. This date wasn't mentioned anywhere in the certificate,” the resident said. Also, there were around 130 beneficiaries who were yet to get their certificates.

“Many people also checked their status on CoWin only to find out on the portal that they were yet to get their first dose,” said a resident.

Now, the residents have lodged a police complaint and have also written to their local public representatives to address the issue.

“None of the 390 beneficiaries have faced any after-effects of vaccination, like fever and body pain. We are worried that we may have been administered a spurious vaccine,” the resident added.

When The Free Press Journal contacted Sanjay Gupta, allegedly one of the coordinators in the drive, he said he was involved in the matter by a member of Malad Medical Association, Mahendra Singh.

“My only job on that day was to maintain the queue and coordinate with the people. I was told that I would be paid Rs 1,000 for a day’s work and I have no more information about this. I have already given my statement to police,” Gupta told the FPJ on Tuesday.

In another surprising development, spokespersons of Kokilaben Hospital said they were not connected with the matter in any way.

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“The society has never approached the hospital for organising vaccination drives. Moreover, the certificates issued to them don’t have the name of our hospital either, so we won't be filing any complaint,” said Dr. Santosh Shetty, executive director, Kokilaben Hospital.

A spokesperson from Nanavati said that the matter had been brought to their notice recently.

“We wish to clarify that we haven’t conducted any vaccination camp at the said residential complex. We have informed authorities and will lodge a formal complaint,” said the spokesperson.

Mumbai Police will look into the matter and make enquiries with the society secretary, who has been untraceable since the certificates with the wrong hospital names came out. Police said that since the secretary had allegedly organised this drive, his statement would provide clarity on the matter.

An officer said on condition of anonymity that this feud seemed to be rooted in building politics and ego hassles that have apparently blown out of proportion. There could be confusion and primary enquiries would be made in the matter.

Yogesh Sagar, local BJP MLA, who was approached by the residents, has also written to the deputy commisisoner of police saying he had already warned the residents prior to the arrangement of the drive.

“When they said Kokilaben was organising the camp, I told them to do a background check as they (the hospital) don’t arrange such camps easily. I also advised them to get one resident get administered with the dose first and to not carry out the drive if his certificate wasn’t get generated,” Sagar told the FPJ on Tuesday.

“This is a nexus where people from the administration are involved. Certificates are being generated from NESCO, which is a civic-run facility and this clearly shows that insiders are involved in this matter,” he said.

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