Ex-army officer among three remanded to police in illegal vaccination case

Three suspects, including a former army officer, have been detained and remanded by a Karachi court for illegally administering Covid-19 vaccines to the general public in return for a payment in the port city’s Saddar area.

The suspects involved in the case are Major (r) Amanullah Sultan, owner of M/s Sultan Madad Private Limited; his employee Mohammed Ali; and government vaccinator Muhammad Zeeshan.

They were arrested for purportedly stealing the vaccine from government stocks and illegally administering it to people at their homes for money in the jurisdiction of Preedy police station, reported Dawn.

On Thursday, the investigation officer produced them before the judicial magistrate (South) to seek their physical remand for interrogation and investigation.

The IO informed the court that the suspects used to administer the stolen vaccine (Pfizer) to people for Rs15,000 per dose, adding that they had vaccinated around 60 people in the Saddar area.

He said that 14-day custody of the suspects was required to interrogate them in order to arrest their other alleged accomplices — who are on the run — and complete investigation and other legal formalities.

However, the judge remanded them in police custody for one day, directing the IO to produce them on the next hearing tomorrow along with an investigation report.

According to the first information report, the complainant, provincial drug inspector for South district Ghulam Ali, said he had received information from “reliable sources” 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 10:30 pm on July 25.

The complainant further said that he, along with Covid-19 focal person Dr Sohail Raza Sher, Dr Dilawar Jiskani and a police party, reached the agreed spot where suspect Mohammed Ali was taken into custody.

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

According to the FIR, suspect Mohammed Ali revealed during the 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 police that he worked as the company’s field officer, while the owner provided him and others with the vaccines which they used to administer to citizens at their homes in return for monetary compensation. This money was paid to Maj 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 Drug Act of 1976.

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