The Congress on Saturday accused Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tejasvi Surya and Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya of making profits by being involved in a vaccine commission scam in Karnataka during the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera claimed Subramanya has been asking Bengaluru residents to get vaccinated at a particular private hospital. He referred to leaked audio clips, where the supervisor of the hospital purportedly tells a man that the price of Covid vaccine cannot be less than Rs 900 as they have to give Rs 700 to Subramanya per dose from this money.
Khera said that before these audio clips emerged, earlier this week, Surya had publicised the vaccination drive at the hospital.
“We want to know how vaccines are available at this private hospital when they are not available in government hospitals for common people,” Khera asked at a press conference. “Who is responsible for this? How are they [BJP leaders] getting vaccines?”
The Congress leader also sought to know why politicians of the ruling party were exhorting people to go to private vaccination sites.
He demanded that the authorities register a first information report against Surya and Subramanya and arrest them. “This is a cash for vaccine case and membership of Tejasvi Surya should be ended from the Parliament with immediate effect,” he added. “The membership of Ravi Subramanya, a three-time BJP MLA, right now. We owe it to people of Karnataka. This is hardly any sacrifice for the prime minister.”
“You cannot back-stab people of Karnataka,” Khera told Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We expect you to act...Please apologise to every single voter and every single citizen of the country.”
Congress leader DK Shivakumar said that the allegations against the two BJP leaders were serious. “MP Tejasvi Surya has been promoting paid vaccination in private hospitals,” he tweeted. “A suo-motu FIR should be filed, HC must monitor the probe and they should be disqualified by the speaker.”
He also referred to the observations made by the Karnataka High Court on Thursday that there were more chances of getting vaccinated at private hospitals than at government-run institutions in the state.
“It is now evident that there is a scam in vaccine allocation and BJP leaders are involved in diverting government stock to private hospitals,” Shivakumar claimed.
The developments came weeks after Surya and his uncle accused Muslim employees of Bengaluru civic body of being complicit in a bed allocation scam on communal lines. The BJP leaders claimed that officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the city’s civic body, were colluding with private nursing homes and hospitals to block beds and reserve it for exorbitant fees.