Gautam Gambhir Foundation guilty of unauthorized stock of Covid medicines: Drug Controller tells Delhi HC

The Drug Controller on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that Gautam Gambhir Foundation has been found in contravention of the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act for unauthorised stock of covid 19 drugs.

A division bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was apprised by the submissions made by ASC Nandita Rao appearing for Drug Controller, GNCTD. The development came after the Court directed the Drug Controller to file fresh status reports with regards to the probe against Gautam Gambhir and AAP MLA Praveen Kumar.

During the course of hearing, Rao informed the Bench that during inquiry, it was observed that Gautam Gambhir Foundation purchased over 2000 strips by licensed dealers despite them not holding any valid license for doing so.

The Court was also informed that show cause notices have also been sent to such firms for violating conditions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and that such firms are also liable for Prosecution for selling medicines to an unlicensed firm i.e. Gautam Gambhir Foundation.

“We have found them in contravention. Identical language is used for them like the dealers. Identical action will be taken.” Drug Controller submitted.

In view of this, Justice Sanghi orally remarked thus:

“So we take it that you’ll take action against the foundation?”

To this, Ms. Rao agreed to the question posed by the Bench. The bench also stated that the Drug Controller is bound to take actions against people violating the rules mentioned under the Act.

On this, Justice Singh orally remarked thus:

“We want the Drug Controller to color everybody from the same brush.”

Similarly, Justice Sanghi observed:

“We’re again saying, what Mr. Gambhir did was in a public spirit. But at what expense? At the expense of needy people. If I need a medicine today but I’m not getting it because somebody else did. The stock wasn’t available to the needy for nearly two weeks. You did charity but you also caused a lot of impediments. You caused shortage to the society. The general patients who needed the medicines couldn’t get it.”

Furthermore, he went ahead to remark thus:

“Just because I want to create popularity, want to get myself prepared for the next election. This shouldn’t be the criteria. That’s why we want you to take action so that it becomes a lesson for others.”

At this juncture, the Court while noting that show cause notices have been issued to licencees under Drugs and Cosmetics Act and their responses are awaited, the bench ordered thus:

“Assistant Drug Controller states that action will be taken against them without any delay. Not only in these particular cases but in all other cases brought under the notice of Drug Controller found to breach the Rules.”

Directing the Drug Controller to file a Status report within 6 weeks, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on July 29.

During the previous course of hearing, the Court pulled up the Drug Controller of the Delhi Government for its “dissatisfactory inquiry/Investigation” in the matter concerning hoarding of covid drugs by Gautam Gambhir and AAP MLA Praveen Kumar.

“You want us to shut our eyes. You can’t take is for a ride. If you think we are so gullible, we are naive, we’ll give you back hard. You better do your job.” remarked the bench.

“We don’t expect you to appear for the person concerned. We make it clear, we will not accept such frivolous arguments. Here is a man who is hoarding thousands of strips of medicines and we don’t know for what consideration. This shows he purchased without any basis. He is interrupting the flow of medicines.” Court remarked further.

The development came after the Court had recently directed the Drug Controller to conduct inquiry or investigation into three specific allegations against BJP MP Gautam Gambhir and AAP MLAs Preeti Tomar and Praveen Kumar for hoarding and illegally stocking covid 19 medicines and drugs.

The bench was dealing with a plea seeking registration of FIRs against leaders of political parties indulging in hoarding and illegally distributing covid 19 medicines denying the access to the said medicines to the public at large.