Gujarat BJP president C.R. Paatil has said in an affidavit that the petition filed by Leader of the Opposition (LOP) and Congress MLA Paresh Dhanani over “illegal distribution” of Remdesivir from the BJP’s Surat office, be rejected by the Gujarat High Court with “exemplary cost” as there was no illegal hoarding.
Paatil said in the affidavit that the petition was filed without verifying facts only to malign the party.
In the affidavit filed on June 21 in response to Dhanani’s PIL, Paatil has submitted that “the present petition is filed with a view to ventilate political grudge and grievance” against the BJP, since “petitioner and his political party are rivals in the political scenario” of Gujarat.
“At the relevant point of time when there was a huge demand of Remdesivir injections, oxygen etc..”, being a senior party leader, he had “mobilized…senior party workers and duly elected public representatives (Members of Legislative Assembly as well as Local Municipal Corporators) to extend maximum help and assistance to those who were in acute need of Remdesivir injections and other essential supplies,” Paatil said in his affidavit.
Paatil has stated that the Remdesivir injections were never hoarded at any place by them as alleged in Dhanani’s PIL. “At no point in time… Remdesivir injections were kept for hoarding at any place, including the party office of the Bharatiya Janata Party,” says Paatil affidavit.
“Availability and facilitation” of the injections were done “strictly in accordance with the statutory provisions and guidelines issued by the competent authorities,” states the affidavit.
Being another respondent in the PIL, Surat’s Majura constituency BJP MLA Harsh Sanghavi had also filed an affidavit in the previous week, where he had outlined the procurement and distribution process followed, which showed two distributors — one in Ahmedabad and another in Surat — and two medical stores — one in Surat and another in Navsari. According to Sanghavi, the entire process of procurement and distribution was done in accordance with law.
The Gujarat Food and Drugs Control Authority (FDCA) commissioner Hemant Koshiya in a preliminary report attached to the affidavit submitted in the Gujarat HC have also given a clean chit to the BJP and its office bearers, including Sanghavi who were involved in the process.
The BJP leader said the petitioner should have waited for a reply from the FDCA commissioner before moving the court, and should have raised his grievances before the Chief Minister, Governor and other competent authorities
Paatil has also asked the Gujarat HC to fine Dhanani for filing PIL without verifying facts.
His affidavit says that Dhanani did not independently verify the media reports as is stipulated under the Gujarat (Practice and Procedure for Public Interest) Litigation Rules, 2010, “a petition filed on the basis of unverified media reports,” deserves to be dismissed.
“Dhanani, being an MLA and LoP, has the support of his staff and is an equipped person” and thus Dhanani could have approached “statutory authorities in his official capacity”, and could have sought appointment of the Governor, Chief Minister or the Health Minister “to draw attention to the alleged grievances,” says Paatil’s affidavit.
The bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav of the Gujarat HC has scheduled the next hearing in the case on July 6.