Supreme Court notice on plea challenging detention order against accused in fake Remdesivir case

Supreme Court had earlier quashed the order for detention of a Jabalpur doctor accused of procuring fake Remdesivir injections in connivance with Mr. Chourasia during the second wave of COVID-19

The Supreme Court on January 3 sought response from the Centre and Madhya Pradesh Government on a plea challenging the order for detention of a Jabalpur man accused of procuring fake Remdesivir injections during the second wave of COVID-19.

A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna issued notices to the secretaries of Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Home Department of the State Government on a plea filed by accused Devesh Chourasia challenging an order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which junked his plea against his detention order.

The apex court sought their response within two weeks.

The top court had earlier quashed the order for detention of a Jabalpur doctor accused of procuring fake Remdesivir injections in connivance with Mr. Chourasia during the second wave of COVID-19.

The plea, filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, submitted that the alleged grounds mentioned in the detention order do not merit the invocation of the provisions of the National Security Act (NSA), 1980.

The petition contended that to attract the provisions of the NSA, the detaining authority ought to have recorded the cause which indicates as to how the accused has affected the public order and threatened the social security.

Till date no ground for keeping the petitioner under prolonged detention and invoking the NSA has been made out, according to the plea.

Moreover, the investigating authority has not placed any evidence/proof on record which merits the invocation of the provisions of the NSA and despite that the petitioner has been in custody with effect from May 10, 2021, the plea said.

While quashing the order for detention of the Jabalpur doctor, the top court had said the State Government delayed decision on his representation and failed to communicate the outcome.

The Supreme Court had passed the order on an appeal filed by the Director of City Hospital, Jabalpur, Sarabjeet Singh Mokha, challenging the August 24, 2021 order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which rejected his petition under Article 226 of the Constitution against a detention order passed against him under Section 3(2) of the National Security Act.

The allegation against Mr. Mokha was that in connivance with Mr. Chourasia and certain others, he procured fake Remdesivir injections, which were administered to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to make illegal profits, thereby endangering the life of the general public.

The top court had invalidated the order of detention on two grounds — the unexplained delay on part of the Madhya Pradesh Government in deciding the representation of the appellant and the failure of the Central and State Governments to communicate the rejection of the representation to the appellant in a timely manner.

The stringent NSA was invoked against four people, including Mr. Mokha, in separate cases related to Remdesivir, in high demand during the pandemic.

The cases relate to sale of fake Remdesivir injections and black-marketing of the anti-viral drug in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

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