Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a Professional Defence electronics company in India which is a Navaratna defence Public sector under Ministry of Defence, has filed a lawsuit against Congress supporter Saket Gokhale who had floated conspiracy theories alleging a ‘Ventilator Scam’ last year. Gokhale had made some clearly misleading and false allegations regarding the procurement of ventilators through the PM-CARES fund that was set up by Prime Minister Modi to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
When his lies were countered by the Chief Managing Director (CMD) of BEL, Gokhale went on to question the authenticity of the Twitter account of the CMD and challenged him to take a legal action against him saying “intimidation tactics won’t work on me”.
Interestingly, now when the BEL has filed a Rs 1 crore defamation suit against Gokhale who had himself invited the company to take legal action against him, he is now crying victim calling it “intimidation”. In June 2020, when the CMD of BEL had warned Gokhale of legal action if he does not take back his false claims, Gokhale had asserted that he is not scared of their legal actions.
Here’s how intimidation works under the Modi govt.:— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) February 15, 2021
The Modi govt through the state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. has filed a Rs. 1 crore defamation suit against me in Bangalore for the work I did on the PM CARES ventilators scam.
No matter what – the truth will always win 🙂 pic.twitter.com/rHOWsQmMfY
Sharing the picture of the legal notice served by the BEL to him, Gokhale tweeted, “Here’s how intimidation works under the Modi govt: The Modi govt through the state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. has filed a defamation suit of Rs 1 crore against me in Bangalore for the work I did on the PM CARES ventilators scam. Not matter what- the truth will always win :)”.Gokhale called the defamation suit a “goldmine” and said that he would fight the suit.
Gokhale’s conspiracy theory and baseless lies alleging a ‘ventilator scam’
Gokhale had alleged that the ventilators that the government was buying through the PM-CARES fund were Skanray CV200 ventilators that the Skanray, a Mysore based company, was manufacturing for Philips India. Gokhale alleged that the Skanray CV200 ventilators were being sold at a market price of Rs 2.5 lakh but the government was procuring these ventilators at Rs 4 lakh through the PM-CARES fund and thus PM Modi and the BJP had “stolen” over Rs 750 crore from the PM-CARES fund using these ventilators. He alleged that the government was passing off these Skanray CV200 ventilators as made-in-India ventilators.
CMD BEL countered Gokhale’s false claims and gave him some facts
Gokhale’ claims were refuted by the Chief Managing Director (CMD) of BEL who said that no such ventilator model was manufactured by Philips and that apparently a fictitious product was being promoted on the virtual marketplace. The CMD further clarified that CV200 was a high-end ventilator having 2-hour built-in battery backup and several other safety features.
These safety features required for patient protection in terms of necessary pressure release & HEPA/Particle/Bacteria/HME filters. The components used for manufacture are from reputed global medical grade components supply-chain partners.— CMD BEL (@cmdbel) June 17, 2020
He said that the components used in the manufacturing of the ventilators were procured from reputed global medical-grade components, supply-chain partners. He explained and that the DRDO had supported the development and indigenisation of some critical components required for the manufacturing of a large number of ventilators. The CMD said that the ventilators bear the PM-CARES logo as they were being procured under the fund allocated for procuring ventilators and that the logo ensured the traceability and accountability of the ventilators.
“Philips CV200” which Gokhale claimed was the one passed off as Skanray ventilator was actually selling for Rs 11 lakh a piece.