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Coronavirus | BJP demands probe into allegations of vaccine sale by Punjab government

BJP fielded Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri to target the Amarinder Singh government   | Photo Credit: PTI

The BJP on Saturday demanded a probe and accountability after allegations surfaced of profiteering by the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab by selling COVID vaccines to private hospitals.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in a presser in New Delhi said the State government’s decision to withdraw the controversial order shows that there was something “fishy” in the matter.

Mr. Puri said Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi had questioned the Modi government over the vaccine supply “when their government in Punjab was indulging in alleged profiteering to the tune of ₹38 crore by selling jabs to private hospitals.”

Large doses of vaccines have been found dumped in Rajasthan, another Congress-ruled State, he alleged.

“Government profiteering should stop. There should be a probe to bring facts in the public domain,” Mr. Puri said adding, “heads should roll”.

He also sought to know the “nature of the fund” to which the money received by the State government from private hospitals was credited.

Patients overcharged

Citing a Punjab government communication, he said it had procured Covishield vaccines for ₹412 per dose but sold it to private hospitals for ₹1,000 and they, in turn, charged ₹1,560 from the people. Two private hospitals in Mohali charged people ₹3,000 and ₹3,200, he alleged.

Taking exception to the Punjab government statement that its decision has not been taken in the right spirit, Mr. Puri said it pointed to concealment of corruption and a culture of impunity in the Congress.

Mr. Puri also said that the Congress’ questioning of efficacy of domestically developed vaccines can now be seen in another light, maybe because the party wanted imports of foreign vaccines for getting “commission”.

Benefits of farm laws

Mr. Puri also brought in the three controversial farm sector laws in his presser accusing Opposition parties of spreading misinformation and lies. “The State of Punjab saw record procurement, contributed over 32% of 411.19 lakh tonnes of the wheat procured, with over ₹26,103.89 crore credited to bank accounts of farmers directly,” he said.

Opposition leaders had alleged that the new laws would lead to the minimum support price regime and mandis being done away with, he said.

Attacking the critics of the Central Vista project, the Minister asserted that as of now work on raising a new parliament building, costing ₹900 crore, and Central Vista avenue costing ₹400 crore was underway.

“An MLA hostel being built in Maharashtra is alone costing ₹900 crore,” he alleged.

To a question on AAP MLA and Delhi Waqf Board chairman Amanatullah Khan seeking assurance that no mosque in the area would be affected by the project, Mr. Puri, whose ministry is in charge of the exercise, said his doors are open for talks and he will look into the matter.


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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 8:26:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-bjp-demands-probe-into-allegations-of-vaccine-sale-by-punjab-government/article34737586.ece

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