Fake IAS officer behind Kolkata vaccine scam

Debanjan Deb (right), who conducted dubious vaccine camps in Kolkata impersonating the joint commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, has been arrested.

He is suspected to have vaccinated at least 1,500 people in these camps without the approval of the state health department, reported The Indian Express.

It has also emerged that the 28-year-old had been posing as an Indian Administrative Service officer for many years.

Among the people who received fake vaccines at the camps organised by him are Trinamool Congress MP Mimi Chakraborty, students and professors of City College Kolkata and residents from across the city.

He was exposed after Ms Chakraborty, who was invited to one such camp, did not receive any text message or vaccination certificate after being jabbed. She alerted her office to check the veracity of the vaccination programme being run by Deb.

The police said that, instead of the Covid vaccine, Deb and his people gave people shots of the antibiotic Amikacin without checking for allergies that could prove fatal.

India Today reported that Ms Chakraborty is suffering from severe dehydration, low blood pressure and stomach cramps. But it is not known whether her illness is a consequence of the fake dose she received.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has reportedly instructed the commissioner of Kolkata police to add the attempt to murder charge against Deb.

The police have arrested three more people - Sushanta Das, Rabin Sikdar, and Santanu Manna - in connection with the scam.

Son of a deputy excise collector, Deb is said to have been faking his identity for several years, apparently to impress his father and relatives. After leaving two university courses midway, he adopted the life of a civil servant. He reportedly also opened a bank account in the name of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) by faking the signatures of officials.

Police sources said that he frequently organised fake raids on businesses, issued fake tenders worth millions in the KMC's name and ran a fake "Kolkata Urban Planning" office with 18 employees.

At least four cases have been registered against Deb at four different police stations in Kolkata based on complaints by government agencies including the KMC and the city police.

Indo-Asian News Service

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