On Monday, the Bombay High Court (Aurangabad Bench) remarked that BJP MP from Ahmednagar Dr Sujay Vikhe Patil needs to introspect while referring to his social media videos glorifying his efforts to procure Remdesivir vials.
A division bench of Justices Ravindra Ghuge and BU Debadwar remarked while hearing the petition seeking an FIR against Patil for allegedly unauthorisedly procuring Remdesivir injections and bringing them via a chartered flight.
Senior Advocate Shirish Gupte, appearing for Patil's, said his client was a man of repute. He submitted that Patil was a Neurosurgeon. However, his hospital - Dr Vikhe Patil Memorial Hospital - is wrongly portrayed as some "fly by night" institution.
"Your client needs to introspect. Had he not indulged in gimmicks of recording a video in the flight and after getting down at the airport, recording his photographs and videos while unloading the boxes and telling his constituency that he used his influence in getting these medicines for you from Delhi ...he should have not said," Justice Ghuge said.
Gupte agreed but added that he had transported Remdesivir vials via a chartered flight to help people, and his act was not criminal in any way. "I agree, this is the bravado of a young man. But it's not a criminal act."
"If the procedure to do good is itself illegal, it doesn't make the purpose good, " the court remarked.
Regarding adding Patil as a respondent to the petition and admitting his plea, the bench said it would pass an order after a detailed hearing on Wednesday, as it did not want to decide in "haste."
The bench added that it is yet to make up its mind about treating the petition as a PIL or a criminal petition.
During the last hearing the bench directed the District Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar, to trace the boxes containing Remdesivir vials unloaded by the MP at the Shirdi Airport.
Gupte started his submissions by saying all hell has broken loose against his client, but he has not been made a party.
He submitted that Patil had not transported 10,000 vials but brought only 1,200 vials from Chandigarh to Ahmednagar by flight.
"There is prejudice caused by these ex-parte allegations, for these 1200 vials got from Chandigarh given to civil surgeon."
He said that the civil surgeon from Ahmednagar placed an order for 1,700 vials, from a Pune company and the company gave 500 vials. However, Dr Patil's foundation paid the civil surgeon Rs 18,14,400 for the 1,700 vial's consignment, and Patil merely went and got the remaining vials from the company's manufacturing unit in Chandigarh.
"Though we are posing this application for hearing on May 5, it is canvased by Senior Advocate Gupte that the applicant has not procured 10,000 vials as is being indicated (by petitioners). Fifteen boxes each containing 80 vials were got by him from Chandigarh of 1200 injections.
Though we have not heard the application, the brief submission indicate that the said applicant, Dr Vikhe Patil had picked up the stock from Chandigarh since the money was already deposited by the civil surgeon, and said Dr Vikhe Patil picked up the stock from Chandigarh and got it to Shirdi," the bench noted.
Advocate Pradnya Talekar, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, submitted that the government is now preparing backdated records. An attempt is being made to show there was no irregularity in purchasing the injections, she said.
During the hearing, the bench also noted that probably the government is treating the petition as adversarial litigation.
The bench then posted the matter for hearing on May 5.