AAP MLA Dilip Pandey says summoned by police over Covid help

Delhi Police Crime Branch on Tuesday approached AAP MLA Dilip Pandey in connection with alleged “illegal distribution of Covid medicines, etc”, and are likely to summon BJP MP Gautam Gambhir and Srinivas B V, the national president of the Indian Youth Congress, for questioning in the coming days.

While Pandey could not be contacted over the phone, he tweeted during the day, “Helping someone has become a crime under Modi’s reign. Me and my entire family are dealing with Covid at this time but the Crime Branch came to ask me why I have been helping people. I will help those affected not once, but a thousand times, even if Modi-Amit Shah hang me to death.”

Police said they were acting on the court’s directions. Delhi Police spokesperson Chinmoy Biswal said, “On a writ filed by Dr Deepak Singh about politicians involved in illegal distribution of Covid medicines, etc, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has directed Delhi Police to conduct an enquiry. In compliance with directions of Hon’ble High Court, an enquiry is being conducted from several concerned persons. Dilip Pandey was contacted today but his phone was found switched off. Later, the enquiry officer spoke with his PA and subsequently an advocate called up and informed that he would submit the reply of Dilip Pandey tomorrow.”

Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana said police had reached out to him as well: “I gave them my statement and said I have never hoarded, purchased or sold any medicines. I went through official channels to help people get access to medicines. They showed me a copy of the High Court order based on which the enquiry is taking place.”

Names given by the petitioner Singh, chairman of the non-profit Hrudaya Foundation, in his complaint to police include Pandey, Gambhir, Srinivas as well as BJP MP Sujay Vikhe, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Congress MLA Mukesh Sharma.

In his petition before the High Court, he had sought a CBI probe into an alleged “medical mafia-politicians nexus” and illegal distribution of Covid medicines by politicians. However, the court on May 4 declined the prayer and asked Singh to approach the Delhi Police Commissioner first. The court asked the state to file a status report within a week and listed the case for hearing on May 17.

“In case the alleged incidents are found to have taken place in Delhi, Delhi Police should take appropriate steps by registration of FIR,” said the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli in an order.

Hearing a separate application against AAP MLA Imran Hussain alleging “arbitrary distribution” and “hoarding” of oxygen cylinders, the court had clarified that there is no prohibition on distribution of cylinders but it will not be permitted if medical oxygen is being procured from re-fillers otherwise allotted to hospitals, nursing homes and individuals by the Delhi government.

“If there is no such prohibition and if from some other source they (political leaders) are getting it and distributing it… then good they are doing service for a change. All the time they are not serving the people; if today they are serving we should be happy about it,” observed the court.