Maha Min Nawab Malik Accuses BJP Leader of Distributing Remdesivir to People Illegally

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Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Tuesday alleged that former BJP MLA from north Maharashtra Shirish Chaudhari illegally distributed to people Remdesivir vials which had not been exported due to a ban on it. However, the BJP dismissed the allegation as baseless.

Talking to reporters here, Malik said the Centre has banned the export of Remdesivir and one of its manufacturers is Bruck Pharma, a Daman-based company. “How could BJP leader Shirish Chaudhari store around 20,000 vials of the exportable Remdesivir stock of Bruck Pharmaand distribute them to people? They don’t have a licence to do so,” the NCP spokesperson said.

Malik said Chaudhari had allegedly distributed and sold the Remdesivir stock in black markets in Nandurbar, Dhule and Jalgaon districts. “Some videos have surfaced in which Chaudhari is allegedly seen distributing Remdesivir vials in Nandurbar from his Hira Executive Hotel. We believe Chaudhari sold around 20,000 vials, which were produced by Bruck Pharma, in the black market on April 8 and 12,” Malik alleged.

He said Anil Patil, the NCP MLA from Amalner in Jalgaon, had complained against Chaudhari (who contested the 2019 Assembly poll against Patil) in a letter to the party. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner has written a letter to Nandurbar collector, asking him to conduct a probe into Chaudhari’s alleged connection with the distribution of Remdesivir vials without a proper licence, Malik said.

The Remdesivir vials of Bruck Pharma had ‘export only’ written on the packets, then how could Chaudhari get hold of the stock? the NCP leader sought to know. “What licence was obtained by Chaudhari from Maharashtra or the Union Territory of Daman?” he asked.

Malik claimed that Chaudhari along with Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council Pravin Darekar had met FDA Minister Rajendra Shingane to seek permission for the Bruck Pharma to sell its Remdesivir stock in Maharashtra. However, Darekar termed Malik’s allegations as “baseless” and said FDA minister Shingane has admitted that the Bruck Pharma’s Remdesivir vials were to be sold in Maharashtra only.

“It is a tight slap on the face of the Maharashtra government which is trying to defame the Centre by spreading misinformation on Remdesivir supply,” he said. Darekar said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, Maharashtra minister Ashok Chavan, state Congress chief Nana Patole and senior party leader Priyanka Gandhi should apologise to the BJP for making “baseless” allegations.

The BJP leader also said he has demanded details of the hoarding of Remdesivir stock, as alleged by Malik. “From day one, we have been telling people that the Remdesivir stock from Bruck Pharma is meant for Maharashtra and it is going to be distributed in the state only,” he said.

A meeting had taken place at FDA minister Shingane’s official residence here and he gave permission to the Bruck Pharma to supply its drug stock in the state, Darekar said. “However, when the state government realised that Remdesivir was going to be made available because of some BJP leaders, the government’s ego was hurt. This government now appears to be more concerned about its ego than the lives of people or the betterment of infrastructure,” he claimed.

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