Fake vax scam: Kolkata Police suspect ‘something big’

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Even 48 hours after more than 2,000 people fell victim to a fake vaccination drive in the West Bengal capital, the police and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) are not yet sure what was injected in them in the name of Covid-19 vaccines.

Preliminary investigations suggest the fake vials either contained plain water or some other vaccine, as per KMC officials.

“The vials are completely different from the vials the state provides. It is smaller in size without any batch number or manufacturing dates.

“There is no expiry date even. It is suspected that the labels were created separately and pasted on the vials. We have sent the vials for forensic tests. Unless reports come in it will be impossible for us to say anything,” a KMC doctor, who has tested the people who have been vaccinated told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“One thing is good — none of those administered the fake doses has developed any side effects, so far but we are keeping a close watch on everybody,” she added.

The Kolkata Police Detective Department while interrogating Debanjan Dev — the man responsible for running the fake vaccination racket — has stumbled on some interesting details.

The city police have recovered KMC letterheads, logos, rubber stamps and many other documents which were convincing enough that he worked for KMC. According to the police, Dev recruited people and gave them a salary.

“I had to pay 3 lakhs when I got this job. I was given an appointment letter on a KMC letterhead and went with Dev to many places including KMC head office in Esplanade. I was made to stand in a place and he went away,” a person who worked in Dev’s company said.

“I dona’t know whom he met and what conversation they had. I even went with him to City College for the vaccination drive. I didn’t have a hint that I was working for a fraud organisation,” the person added.

The police probe team are of the opinion that Debanjan Dev had carefully planned that whole thing. They have also come to know that Dev, who was a good student – used to tell his neighbours that he is an IAS officer and worked at the level of Joint Commissioner in KMC.

He moved about in a vehicle with a blue beacon light and with an armed security guard.

“The office he used to run looked like a KMC office and it is expected that he had developed some close relations with some of the officials of the Corporation but we are yet to find out his source of money and or the motive behind this,” a police officer said.

The whole incident came to light when Trinamool Congress MP Mimi Chakraborty lodged a complaint with the Kolkata Police alleging that a man was running a fake vaccination centre in Kasba area in the Southern fringes of the city on Wednesday.

The actor-turned-politician found the camp suspicious when she received no official confirmation after taking the vaccine from this camp on Wednesday evening and then lodged her complaint.

Police immediately arrested one Dev from South Kolkata.

–IANS

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