All India Youth Congress President Srinivas BV and other political leaders questioned for alleged black-marketing and illegal distribution of Covid-19 supplies were “actually helping people” and there was no proof of fraud against them, the Delhi Police told the High Court, The Indian Express reported on Monday.
In a status report filed before the Delhi High Court on Saturday, the Crime Branch said that Srinivas, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir and seven other politicians offered help to Covid-19 patients voluntarily and without discrimination.
“The person enquired into has not charged any money for the help provided and thus no one has been defrauded,” the police said, according to the newspaper.
Along with the status report, the Delhi Police also submitted the replies of the politicians questioned in the case. Srinivas said that he and his team provided Covid-19 patients with the medical supplies and equipment that were received as donations.
Meanwhile, Gambhir told the police that his charitable organisation had set up a free medical camp between to help Covid-19 patients, the Hindustan Times reported. He added that a doctor had volunteered to serve at the camp.
Srinivas criticised the central government, saying that it had left Indians to fend for themselves amid the coronavirus crisis. He added that available resources were being “squandered to harass citizens” doing charity work, according to The Indian Express.
Srinivas has been helping in the distribution of coronavirus relief material, including oxygen cylinders and medicines, through a war room inside the Youth Congress office in Delhi. This war room also monitors and responds to tweets seeking help. In 2020, the Youth Congress chief set up a network of volunteers under “SOS IYC”.
The politician’s relief work gained global attention after a few foreign embassies in Delhi tagged him on Twitter, requesting help with Covid-19 material.
On May 14, the Delhi Police interrogated Srinivas on the basis of a petition that claimed politicians from various parties were illegally distributing medicines used for the treatment of the coronavirus. The petition also named Gambhir and Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Mukesh Sharma.
The massive second wave of the coronavirus has overwhelmed the health infrastructure in India. Several states reported acute shortages of oxygen, Covid-19 vaccines and drugs. The shortages have forced Covid-affected families to seek help in procuring life-saving supplies on social media.
The Opposition has consistently criticised the Centre for the way it was handling the health crisis in India.
On Monday, India recorded 2,81,386 new coronavirus cases, taking the total count of infections to 2,49,65,463 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. This is the first time since April 21 that the cases have dropped below the 3 lakh mark. The country’s toll rose by 4,106 to 2,74,390. India’s count of active cases stood at 35,16,997, while the number of recoveries reached 2,11,74,076.