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Maharashtra FDA minister embarrasses his own govt and alliance leaders, says his ministry had approved Remdesivir procurement by BJP

"I was aware of it. The BJP leaders had met me at my house along with the manufacturers' representatives. They offered to help us procure the Remdesivir stocks for the state government and I agreed to it," confessed FDA minister Dr Ranjendra Shingne

Maharashtra’s Food and Drug Administration Minister and NCP leader Dr. Rajendra Shingne’s admission has put all conspiracy theories triggered by his own government and the alliance leaders to rest. In an interview to News18 Lokmat on Tuesday, Dr Rajendra Shingne admitted that the Remdesivir procured by the opposition party Bhartiya Janta Party was indeed intended for the Maharashtra government, and he was aware of the same.

“I was aware of it. The BJP leaders had met me at my house along with the manufacturers’ representatives. They offered to help us procure the Remdesivir stocks for the state government and I agreed to it. The entire process was done following all rules, with due permissions and with genuine intentions to help the citizens,” he informed much to MVA’s dismay. 

Further embarrassing the MVA government, Dr Shingne confirmed that the injections could not be used for any other purpose and that he was assured about the same by the BJP leaders. He also urged the political parties to come together in the time of crises rather than indulging in in-fighting.

The Maharashtra minister’s comment completely embarrasses his own government, especially the Shiv Sena and the Congress party, who have been trying to find a ‘scam’ in the procurement of the drug by BJP. Congress and Shiv Sena leaders have been accusing that BJP was not authorised to purchase Remdesivir even if it was meant for the general public. They have been demanding a probe into how the opposition was able to procure the drug, alleging irregularities. But now the concerned minister himself has clarified that BJP went ahead with the deal following due process, and had obtained approval for the same from the ministry.

In the due course, the Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Praveen Darekar had reiterated multiple times that they had been in touch with Minister Shingne right from the beginning to sanction legitimate approvals from the FDA. But this did not deter the MVA leaders from launching a scathing attack on the BJP for procuring the drug for the people of Maharashtra.

After Rajendra Shingne’s clarification, Praveen Darekar said, “Minister Shingane had thanked us for our efforts and we also assured the injection doses would be given to the state government.” He further added, “I had been in touch with Minister Shingane right from the beginning, met him at his home and he agreed. Now, all the allegations by the ruling party leaders and the police station drama stands exposed.”

Praveen Darekar has also demanded that now MVA leaders like NCP’s Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, State Congress chief Nana Patole, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra etc to reply in the matter after their lies have been exposed by their own minister.

Bruck Pharma Controversy

The high voltage drama began after the Mumbai police held a director of Bruck Pharma- a Daman-based manufacturer of Remdesivir for allegedly “hoarding” the critical drug in his storage facility. He was let go only after the intervention of LoP Devendra Fadnavis who came to his rescue with all relevant permissions and approval documents. Devendra Fadnavis and Praveen Darekar had to spend hours at the police station to sort out the matter, as they tried hard to explain to the police that the Maharashtra Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) had permitted the consignment.

MVA leaders accuse BJP of hoarding

Following the incident, the police had issued a statement saying that the Bruck official was questioned as they had received complaints of Remdesivir being hoarded by the company, but later the matter was resolved as the consignment was found to be legal. But it didn’t stop the ruling alliance partners in Maharashtra to launch an attack on BJP, alleging irregularities in the purchase.

Priyanka Chaturvedi, a vocal member of the Shiv Sena accused the BJP of hoarding Remdesivir that the party allegedly secured “secretly”. She has been giving interviews to the likes of NDTV furthering her claims and allegations.

Saket Gokhale, a Congress party sympathizer went a step ahead and filed a complaint with state home minister Dilip Walse Patil against Devendra Fadnavis in connection with the “illegal hoarding” of Remdesivir procured through Bruck Pharma.

Wonder what the Home Minister will have to say when he learns that the permissions were given by a Cabinet Minister and his own party member.

Similarly, Dr Shingane’s revelation will leave NCP’s Nawab Malik looking for ways to justify his accusation against the BJP creating who also has been going around giving interviews trying to pin Devendra Fadnavis with his false allegations.

In an attempt to create panic Nawab Malik had also alleged that the Centre gave permission to one of the export companies to supply Remdesivir to the state of Gujarat only.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya was quick to diffuse the baseless accusations made by Nawab Malik by tweeting a copy of the official approval letter signed by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs Administration- Maharashtra State, giving a go-ahead to the distribution of the life-saving drug- Remdesivir.

The unfolding of the entire drama just exposes the lack of coordination in the Maha Vikas Aghadi where the leaders of the same political party are caught unaware of the party proceedings. Let alone coming together of three ideologically very different political parties.

At a time when the state of Maharashtra is reeling under a pandemic, we hope the parties will find a way to battle the crisis together rather than to be at war with each other.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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