A special court on Friday convicted an accused to three years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) for black-marketing Remdesivir injection during the peak of the second wave of pandemic. This is the first conviction against those involved in black-marketing of Remdesivir.
The High Court taking suo motu cognisance of ‘The Hitavada’ news report highlighting rampant black-marketing of Remdesivir and arrest of 32 black-marketeers had directed setting up a dedicated court, appointed special public prosecutor and directed disposal within a defined time frame.Chief Judicial Magistrate S B Pawar while holding Mahendra Rangari, a ward boy working with Ojas Covid Centre, Krida Chowk, guilty of offence under section 381 of the IPC and refused to show any leniency for his act of black-marketing Remdesivir when it was in critical shortage.
The CJM Court which finished the trial in just two months also recorded that the act of stealing Remdesivir from the hospital and selling it to the highest bidder was deplorable. Any lesser punishment would send a wrong message to society, the Court noted while awarding three years imprisonment to the accused. However, the Court found no evidence against him under section 188 and section 3 and 7 of Essential Commodities Supply and Maintenance Act and acquitted him from those charges.
As per the procedure, the CJM Court granted bail to the accused and stayed the conviction to allow Rangari to file an appeal before the Sessions Court.The accused stole Remdesivir vial allotted to a patient Rajni Bhongade on April 17, 2021 and his action was caught by CCTV camera and the stolen vial was recovered from him. Based on the complaint of Ashok Bisne, Manager of the Covid Centre, Rangari was booked by Imamwada Police.
The High Court while ordering fast-track trial of such cases highlighted by The Hitavada hadreiterated that such unscrupulous persons playing with lives of hapless covid patients should not be spared. The city police chiefAmitesh Kumar personally supervised the issue and ensured that flawless chargesheets are filed in record time. Special Public Prosecutor Jyoti Vajani conducted the trial braving the risk of pandemic and ensured conviction in the very first of Remdesivir black marketing case.Special PP Jyoti Vajani represented the prosecution while Adv Milind Khobragade appeared for the accused