Patna: The glaringly contrasting cases of COVID-19 guidelines violation by Dr Vibha Kumari Singh and Brahmdeo Mandal show the Nitish Kumar-led government’s double standard in dealing with the powerful and the ordinary.
More than three days after it was reported that Patna-based civil surgeon Singh was administered five vaccine doses within a few months, district magistrate (DM) Chandrashekhar Singh said on Monday that she is being probed.
According to news agency PTI, Singh maintained that she was jabbed thrice as per rules and someone else managed to get the shots using her PAN card details. However, the CoWIN portal shows that she received the first dose on January 28, 2021, and registered for the second dose on March 12. In between, she again took the vaccine on February 6 using her PAN card and for the fourth time on June 17. She got the precautionary dose on January 13, 2022.
After the local media revealed how Singh was jabbed five times, which raised eyebrows, the DM said that the administration has started an investigation.
In contrast, when 84-year-old Mandal, caught while visiting a vaccination centre to get the 12th dose on January 4, revealed to have been jabbed 11 times last year. The state health department and the police were quick to act against Mandal, a resident of Orai village, in Madhepura district.
On January 5, Madhepura civil surgeon AN Shahi ordered an investigation and the police registered a first information report (FIR) against Mandal—who had retired from the postal department—on a complaint filed by the district medical officer under Sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonesty) and 188 (disobedience of order promulgated by the government) of the Indian Penal Code.
Soon after lodging the FIR, the police raided Mandal’s house at night and other places to arrest him in vain as he was absconding. Upset over the police action, he threatened to commit suicide if arrested. Mandal’s wife alleged that the police forcibly entered the house and misbehaved with the family as if he was a criminal.
Taking his suicide threat seriously, the police assured Mandal of not arresting him. Finally, he surrendered before the police on Monday and was granted bail.
Mandal had used different identity cards and mobile numbers to get the 11 doses. Strangely, health department officials both in Patna and Delhi questioned his claim and even denied the possibility without looking into the lapses by officials at the vaccination centres where he was jabbed.