Fake Vaccination Camps: Kolkata Police Includes Attempt-to-Murder Charge Against Main Accused, Associates

Kolkata Police on Saturday included the charge of attempt to murder along with other sections of the IPC against a man who allegedly impersonated as an IAS officer and organised COVID-19 vaccination camps together with three of his associates, officials said. Debanjan Deb, 28, and his accomplices have also been charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery and cheating.

He was arrested on Wednesday for masquerading as a joint commissioner of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and operating a immunisation camp in Kasba area, where actor and Trinamool Congress MP Mimi Chakraborty had also got her jab. According to a top source in the state government, the decision to include the attempt to murder charge against all the four was taken at the “direction of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee”.

The West Bengal government has also set up an expert committee to examine the effect of fake vaccination administered to people at the camp and take corrective action, a senior police officer said. The four-member panel will be submitting a detailed report very soon, a health department official said.

Health camps were also organised by the government for those who had been given the shots at the camps run by Deb. “Initial findings suggest that people were administered antibiotic Amikacin instead of Covid vaccines, and it had no major impact on their health,” a health department source said.

The department also released a set of SOPs for operating Covid vaccination centres or camps under non- government initiative. Earlier in the day, Kolkata Police arrested the three associates of Deb. Two of them were found to be signatories to a fake bank account that was registered against the name of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, officials said.

The third was on the payroll of Deb and had actively taken part in the vaccination camps, they said. “One is a resident of Salt Lake while another is from Barasat. Both were called for questioning before they were arrested,” a senior police officer said.

The “employee” of Deb hails from Taltala. All four of them were produced in a local court on Saturday.

Three more cases have been registered against Deb at Kasba Police Station, he said. The TMC MP, who was invited to attend the camp, was the first to raise alarm after she did not receive the customary message sent to those who are inoculated.

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