NAGPUR: :Police on Friday arrested Deepak Sontakke, 25, for his alleged role in stealing seven vials of Covishield vaccine from Chatari rural hospital in Akola. A case was registered following a complaint lodged by the facility’s medical superintendent. Police sources said Sontakke, originally a data entry operator posted at Patur, had been deputed at Chatari rural hospital as a vaccinator on February 5 when the inoculation drive was launched for health and frontline workers.
He was in-charge of the vaccines at the hospital. According to initial findings in the inquiries conducted by the hospital’s internal committee, Sontakke allegedly took some vials of the vaccine with him on February 11. SP G Sreedhar said a case under Section 380 (theft) of IPC was registered against Sontakke, adding, “We would now conduct inquiries based upon his statements and try to recover the stolen vials, if possible.”
Of the 44 Covishield vials 7 were found missing from the cold storage on February 12 by the staff nurses who were supposed to administer the doses to the beneficiaries. The hospital authorities lodged a “missing” complaint with police on February 16. On February 19, the hospital’s internal committee once again went to police with a fresh complaint of theft mentioning Sontakke as the prime suspect. “The committee had fixed the responsibility on Sontakke as his conduct was questionable,” said a source. Assistant inspector Rahul Wagh, the investigating officer, said Sontakke would be produced before the court on Saturday for custody remand.