Congress supporter and serial petitioner Saket Gokhale took to Twitter on Sunday to do what he is best at, that is fear-mongering and spreading fake news. Gokhale in a series of baseless tweets alleged that the BJP hoarded Rs 4.75 crores worth of Remdesivir in their party office in Maharashtra.
The allegations were made after the Mumbai Police on Saturday detained and questioned a director of Daman-based pharma company Bruck Pharmaceuticals over the supply of Remdesivir vials. Maharashtra unit of BJP had ordered Remdesivir from the company to be supplied to people in Maharashtra, but after the company had readied the product for delivery, the police had detained the director accusing them of hoarding the drug. The director was later released when Devendra Fadnacis raised the issue last night.
The serious allegations levelled against the opposition party by Gokhale have no proof attached and are also devoid of truth.
What Saket Gokhale claims
Gokhale in his first query expressed amusement over how a “private individual” like Fadnavis “could procure Remdesivir stock from Gujarat when the sale is allowed only to the government?”
Fadnavis then claims that the BJP bought that stock to distribute to people.— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) April 18, 2021
1. How did a private individual like Fadnavis procure Remdesivir stock from Gujarat when sale is allowed only to the government?
The leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis in his media interaction had clearly stated, “Four days ago our leaders Pravin Darekar and Prasad Lal had gone to Daman to Bruck Pharma and requested them to supply the drug to Maharashtra. They obliged but said they did not have the license. Then I spoke to (union minister) Mansukh Mandaviya and got them the license.” The arrangement was made by the opposition party in Maharashtra after observing an acute shortage of the critical drug used in the treatment of Covid-19 in the state. It is also clear that the Union Minister of State for Chemical and Fertilizers had approved the delivery of the drug to Maharashtra, hence it was not a private deal unknown to the government.
Gokhale also displayed his poor knowledge of geography, as the Bruck plant is in Daman in the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu Union Territory, and not in Gujarat as he is claiming.
Gokhale, in his next tweet, alleged that BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had bypassed the state government for procuring the drug.
2. Why didn’t Fadnavis inform the state govt of the supplier & help procure the stock through state channels?— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) April 18, 2021
3. In the midst of a severe shortage, why was BJP hoarding 4.75 crores worth of Remdesivir in their party office (just like in Gujarat)?
Praveen Darekar of the Bhartiya Janta Party who had accompanied Devendra Fadnavis to the police station had informed that the state minister for Food and Drugs Rajendra Shingne was in the know of the plan as the procurement and transportation of the drug required state govt’s permission.
Gokhale in the same tweet made another baseless claim that the Remdesivir stock was being hoarded by the BJP in a party office. To his dismay, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, zone 8, Manjunath Shinge in a statement informed that they received inputs of 60,000 Remdesivir vials stocked in a ‘storage facility’ and that the director was called for an inquiry on the same.
There’s shortage of Remdesvir, & black marketing is rampant. We had got information about this storage facility. Acting in good faith, we only wanted to verify the inputs. He (supplier) was called for enquiry, it wasn’t an arrest: Manjunath Singe, DCP Mumbai pic.twitter.com/QXr9m1Rsc8— ANI (@ANI) April 17, 2021
Furthering NCP leader Nawab Malik’s deceit, Gokhale in his next tweet alleged that the Central government had stopped the supplies of Remdesivir to the Maharashtra government.
And most importantly – while @nawabmalikncp ji showed yesterday that Central govt had stopped supplies of Remdesivir to Maharashtra govt, then how was BJP’s Fadnavis allowed to procure it sneakily without informing the state govt? That too stock worth 4.75 crores?— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) April 18, 2021
The BJP leaders were quick to diffuse the baseless allegations. BJP MP Manoj Kotak had shared images of two identical letters issued by the FDA’s of the respective state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat, stating the Centre has no role in the matter.
The letters issued by the FDA of the resp.states @nawabmalikncp— Manoj Kotak (@manoj_kotak) April 17, 2021
1) Centre has no role in this
2) BDR Pharma had applied to Maharshtra and Gujarat Govt for permission Both state govts sanctioned the same in the prescribed format as shown below pic.twitter.com/U28INkt5uq
Mumbai BJP spokesperson Suresh Nakhua also shared the letters by the Gujarat and Maharashtra government respectively and exclaimed that the MVA government has not been prompt enough in dealing with the crisis at hand.
In his concluding tweet, Gokhale tagged the leaders of non-NDA parties and requested them to investigate if the BJP is running a similar scheme in other states. Asking for a probe into the matter, he launched an attack on the Centre stating, “Fadnavis in collusion with the Modi Govt is starving Maharashtra of Remdesivir supplies while hoarding them in BJP offices.”
I’ll be writing to Hon’ble Maharashtra Home Minister @Dwalsepatil ji & Health Minister Hon’ble @rajeshtope11 ji requesting an immediate probe into this.— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) April 18, 2021
Fadnavis in collusion with the Modi Govt is starving Maharashtra of Remdesivir supplies while hoarding them in BJP offices.
However, it is imperative to know that the Maharashtra government’s latency had forced the opposition to get into action to deal with the current crisis at hand. A State FDA official admitted that they were still in the planning stage to give emergency approval to a few manufacturers for direct sale. “But right now it is in the talks stage. Bruck has not been given marketing approval yet,” he added.
Role of Bruck Pharma
Bruck Pharma is one of the 16 manufacturers of Remdesivir with its manufacturing unit in Dabhel, Daman that has permission to export the drug. However, the company does not have a marketing license and this is where the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis had sought quick permission from the FDA to supply the drug to the state in a sincere attempt.