KARACHI: A local court on Tuesday remanded in police custody a third suspect arrested in a case of illegally administering stolen Covid-19 vaccines to people at their homes and receiving money for it.

Police claimed to have booked and arrested Abdul Samad, Tahira Bano and Waqas for allegedly stealing vaccines from government stocks and illegally administering them to people at their homes for money in a Saddar locality.

Three suspects, retired major Amanullah Sultan; owner of a health services provider company, M/s Sultan Madad Private Limited, his field officer Mohammed Ali and a government vaccinator, Mohammad Zeeshan, are already remanded in judicial custody in the case.

On Tuesday, the investigating officer produced another suspect, Abdul Samad, before the judicial magistrate (South) to seek his 14-day physical remand in police custody for interrogation and investigation.

Two get interim pre-arrest bail in the case

However, the judge remanded him in judicial custody with the direction to the IO to produce him on the next date with an investigation report.

Two suspects get bail

Meanwhile, an additional district and sessions judge (South) granted interim pre-arrest bail to a deputy superintendent and an employee of the vaccination centre against a sum of Rs30,000 each in the present case.

They were told to cooperate with the police.

The matter was fixed for Aug 5 for the confirmation of their interim bail or otherwise.

Provincial inspector for drugs (South) Ghulam Ali stated that a tip-off had been received that some people had pilfered vaccines from vaccination centres of the Sindh government and were administering them to the people at their homes against monetary gains.

Last week, Ghulam Ali had registered a case, stating that information was received that certain persons had stolen Covid-19 vaccines from a vaccination centre established by the Sindh government and were allegedly administering the jabs to residents at their homes for cash.

The drug inspector said he subsequently approached a man, Mohammed Ali, whose name was conveyed to him as being involved in the activity, on the pretext of getting vaccinated. The suspect agreed to administer the jab at his home and told him that he would meet him at a restaurant in Saddar at 10.30pm on July 25.

The complainant further said that he, along with Covid-19 focal person Dr Sohail Raza Sher, and police party, arrested him red-handed.

He alleged that the suspect possessed a box of syringes and two empty vaccination cards with the inscription of the Sindh health department, adding that the box also contained three used vials and 14 specimen collection swabs.

Police claimed that suspect Mohammed Ali revealed during initial probe that he was an employee of Sultan Madad Private Limited, whose owner was a former army officer, retired Maj Amanullah Sultan.

The suspect told the police that he worked as the company’s field officer, while the owner provided him and others with the vaccines which they administered to citizens at their homes in return for monetary compensation. That money was paid to Mr Sultan, according to the FIR.

A case was registered against Mohammed Ali, retired Maj Sultan and others under sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, and Section 30 of the Drugs Act of 1976.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2021

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