India: 2,000+ People in Mumbai ‘Duped’ into Buying Fake Vaccines

A health worker inoculates a women with a dose of the Covishield vaccine against the Covid
Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Police in the Indian city of Mumbai recently shut down a group of fraudulent Chinese coronavirus vaccine clinics for distributing fake vaccines and counterfeit certificates to over 2,053 paying clients, the Times of India reported on Thursday.

Deepak Thakare, a public prosecutor for the Indian state of Maharashtra — of which Mumbai is the capital — told the Mumbai High Court on June 24 that “over 2,053 people received fake Covid [Chinese coronavirus] shots” as part of the scheme and “8 persons were arrested so far” in connection with the operation, which charged people for the unauthorized certificates and injections.

The Mumbai High Court on Thursday ordered the Indian state of Maharashtra and Mumbai to file affidavits stating new public health policies “to ensure there is no repeat of the fake vaccination camp[s],” according to the Times of India.

The sham vaccine clinics administered unknown substances to clients via injection for nearly two weeks, starting as early as May 25. The mobile operation traveled throughout Mumbai’s suburbs to administer hundreds of fake vaccines per day, with nearly 400 administrations logged on May 30 in the northern Mumbai neighborhood of Kandivli. The transactions continued until June 6, when Mumbai police shut down the clinics following an initial investigation into their operations.

“[W]hen people realised that certificates were from three different hospitals in one camp, BMC [Mumbai’s governing civic body] started questioning the hospitals [sic],” the Times of India paraphrased a senior Maharashtra civic counsel named Anil Sakhare as saying on June 24 at the Mumbai High Court hearing.

Mumbai High Court Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni instructed Mumbai’s civic governing body to “find what was the effect of this ‘fake vaccine’ on people” on Thursday, according to the Times of India.

“Do they have antibodies? Were they given saline or water?” the bench asked, adding, “They should be taken care of now.”

“Did none of the society members suspect anything? Here vaccine was administered to 390 and they paid money in the evening [sic]?” the Mumbai High Court asked.

Mumbai police said on Friday they had arrested ten people so far in connection with the case and charged them with an “attempt to commit culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” India’s NDTV news site reported on June 25.

Police in the capital city said “scammed citizens may have been injected with saline, or salt water,” according to NDTV.

“We have also discovered eight more camps had been organised by this syndicate [sic],” Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil told NDTV on Friday, without providing further details.


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