Image Credits: PTI/ANI
Gautam Gambhir, issuing his first response hours after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) pulled him up for illegally holding unauthorised stocks of anti-COVID drugs, minced no words as he held CM Arvind Kejriwal responsible for the situation in the national capital, slamming the AAP government's handling of the pandemic. Refraining from making any direct comments as the matter remains before the courts, Gambhir remarked that CM Kejriwal 'cannot stoop any lower' when asked for his comments on DCGI's submission to the Delhi HC earlier in the day.
On Thursday morning, the DCGI told the Delhi High Court that Gautam Gambhir's foundation had committed an offence under Rule 61 and 18 C of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, assuring that action will be taken without delay. The matter will again be considered on July 29.
Speaking to Republic Media Network, Gautam Gambhir said, "The matter is sub-judice. It is in the courts. We cannot say anything beyond that. All I can say is that Kejriwal cannot stoop any lower than this. Probably, you should only go down that much from where you can rise again but he has crossed all the borders, gone down so deeply. I don't think he can stand up again."
Hearing the matter, the 2-judge HC bench headed by Justice Sanghi had observed that while what Gambhir did was in public spirit, general patients who needed the medicines could not get it and questioned how the BJP MP's foundation procured stocks from dealers when the distribution was centralized.
The judge rebuked politicians for trying to gain popularity ahead of the next elections, saying, "This shouldn't be the criteria. That's why we want you to take action so that it becomes a lesson for others". The Drug controller told HC that not just Gambhir's cases, all other cases brought under the notice of the Drug Controller found to breach the Rules.
In response to the development, Gambhir had earlier put out a tweet quoting Sardar Bhagat Singh. "I am a man and all that affects mankind concerns me - Sardar Bhagat Singh," Gambhir tweeted. The BJP Delhi had earlier claimed innocence as he argued that if a few 100 strips of tablets obtained from a distributor are being given for free, then, can it be called hoarding and that if his obtaining a few strips is causing the shortage? The drug in question - Fabiflu - has been widely used in treating COVID-19 patients and reports of shortage have come to the fore as Delhi faces the COVID-19 crisis.
I am a man and all that affects mankind concerns me - Sardar Bhagat Singh!— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) June 3, 2021
On May 24, Delhi high court directed the drug agency to probe into hoarding of essential COVID medicines by BJP MP Gautam Gambhir and medical oxygen by AAP MLAs Priti Tomar and Praveen Kumar. Maintaining that the lawmakers may have had the best intentions, the court viewed their action as a disservice, directing DCGI to submit a report within 1 week. The matter heard by Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh pertained to Delhi police's clean chit to nine politicians on 'hoarding medicines & oxygen supplies'. The court noted that Gambhir had purchased 2628 strips of Fabiflu on prescription by a Dr Garg and distributed it among Delhi citizens, leaving only 258 strips for the DGHS
Based on preliminary investigation, Delhi Police in its initial enquiry against nine politicians on the alleged illegal distribution of Covid medicines including BJP MP Gautam Gambhir & Indian Youth Congress chief BV Srinivas has given them a clean chit. Stating that "they were actually helping people", Delhi police added "the person enquired into have not charged any money for the help provided, and thus no one has been defrauded" in its affidavit.