More than 2,000 people in Mumbai had been given fake Covid-19 vaccinations in unauthorized camps organized by fraudsters, Indian police said Friday.
Preliminary investigations indicated they had most likely been injected with saline solution in place of the Covishield vaccine, Mumbai joint commissioner of police Vishwas Nangre Patil said.
The scam came to light after residents of a housing complex in north Mumbai lodged a complaint after not a single one of around 300 of them developed post-inoculation symptoms, such as fever, after going to a vaccination camp on 17 June that was organized by a private hospital.
A similar complaint came in from a film producer who said the same hospital had organized two vaccination camps for his employees and they had not received certificates.
“We have arrested 10 people including the couple who owned the hospital and have recovered 1.24 million rupees (about 16,700 dollars),” Patil said.
They have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Several of those arrested were involved in at least eight other camps across Maharashtra state and a special investigation team of police had been set up to look into these.
Under India’s vaccination programme, 25% of vaccine doses produced every month can be procured and distributed by privately-run hospitals while the rest is managed by the government.
India is just emerging from a deadly second wave of the pandemic and wants to speed up vaccinations which currently cover just 4% of the adult population with both doses and around 18% with one dose.