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Authorities claim that thousands of people have been victims of a well-planned and far-reaching scam selling fake coronavirus vaccines in India, including doctors and medical staff. 

Senior police officer Vishal Thakur of the Mumbai Police Department said that at least 12 false vaccination campaigns have been organized in or near the financial center of Mumbai in the western state of Maharashtra. “They use saline and inject it,” Thakur said. “In all their fake vaccination camps, they are doing this.” He told that an estimated 2,500 people have been vaccinated. 

The organizers charged the victims for the shooting, earning a total of up to 28,000 US dollars. “We have arrested the doctor,” he added. “They are using a hospital that produces fake certificates, medicine bottles, and syringes.” At present, 14 people have been arrested on suspicion of cheating, attempted death by negligence, and conspiracy to commit a crime. 

Thakur said that as the police continue to investigate other people involved in the scam, more people may be arrested.

India was hit by the second wave of coronavirus between April and early June, infecting millions of people across the country and killing hundreds of thousands of people. After reaching its peak in May, the number of daily cases slowly declined, alleviating pressure on the strained medical system and allowing the authorities to strengthen vaccination programs during the country’s recovery. Symptomatic infection, the developer said. 

In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a centralized vaccination campaign, in which the central government would provide a large percentage of the vaccines to the states for free. Modi said that shortly afterward, the country delivered a record 8 million injections in a day, which was a sign of “joy” that the plan was accelerated. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 62 million people (approximately 4.5% of the national population) have been vaccinated so far. 

According to reporters from CNN, the false vaccination campaign was carried out from the end of May to the beginning of June. After the victims of some scams suspected the vaccination certificates they received, the authorities began an investigation. According to CNN-News18, one of the false units occurred in a housing association, but “none of our members had any symptoms, and we had to pay cash… At the time, we doubted it.” 

When the police started investigating, others also took their own legal actions. Mumbai lawyer Siddharth Chandrashekhar filed a public interest lawsuit on June 24. At this time, prosecutors have confirmed more than 2,000 victims of fraud. The Mumbai High Court stated in the document that these allegations were “really shocking” and urged state and local authorities to take action “to prevent innocent people from being fooled in the future”.

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