The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay proceedings against Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir’s foundation for illegally stocking and distributing Covid-19 drugs during the second wave of the pandemic, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, however, said the foundation could approach the Delhi High Court for relief in the case.
On July 8, the Drugs Control Department of Delhi had filed a complaint against the Gautam Gambhir foundation for unauthorised purchase and procurement of Fabiflu medicine, used for treating coronavirus patients. The department had also filed complaints against Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Praveen Kumar and Imran Hussain before the designated court of Metropolitan Magistrate Prithu Raj.
Gambhir’s foundation approached the Supreme Court, challenging the department’s proceedings.
During Monday’s hearing, the bench refused to entertain a petition filed by the foundation. “People were running helter skelter for medicines and drugs,” Justice Chandrachud observed. “Suddenly, a trust comes and says we will give you medicines. This is not done.”
Between April and May, several states including Delhi witnessed a tsunami of Covid-19 infections. Reports flooded the media of patients running from pillar to post in search of medicines, hospital beds and oxygen cylinders as several hospitals reported shortages.
Justice Shah said individuals cannot distribute drugs, according to Live Law. “We saw how the common man was suffering,” he added. “This cannot be done. Do you want us to go into merits?”
Senior advocate Kailash Vasdev, appearing for the foundation, withdrew the petition.
On June 3, the Drugs Control Department of Delhi informed the Delhi High Court that the Gautam Gambhir foundation had been found guilty of unauthorisedly stocking, procuring and distributing Fabiflu medicine.
During a hearing on May 31, the court had rejected its report and pulled up the department for carrying out a questionable investigation in the case.
“You can’t take us for a ride,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh had said, reported NDTV. “If you think we are so gullible, so naive, we are not. You better do your job. If you can’t do your job tell us... we will have you suspended and let someone else do your job.”
In May, the police had questioned Gambhir, AAP MLAs Priti Tomar and Praveen Kumar, All India Youth Congress President Srinivas BV and other political leaders for alleged black marketing and illegal distribution of Covid-19 supplies.
The police, however, had told the Delhi High Court that there was no proof of fraud against them and that they were “actually helping people”.