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Sonu Sood denies hoarding COVID-19 medicines, says petitioners trying to destroy his philanthropic work

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Actor and Humanitarian Sonu Sood has denied any wrongdoing in the distribution of anti-COVID-19 drugs by him and told the Bombay High Court that he was only helping out those who genuinely needed medicines amid shortages.

The High Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking probe into the distribution of Remdesivir and other drugs by politicians and celebrities like Sonu Sood. The distribution of medicines as well as oxygen cylinders by politicians and celebrities at a time when even the government was finding it hard to keep up with the demand raised questions.

The High Court had earlier asked the Maharashtra government to find out if there had been illegal hoarding and unauthorized distribution of drugs. Sonu Sood filed an application through his advocate Milan Desai seeking to become a party to the PIL. A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni allowed Sood to become a part of hearing.

In his application, the actor denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the petitioners were trying to defame him and destroy his philanthropic work. Since the onset of the pandemic he had been “relentlessly doing philanthropic work”, Sood said.

After the second wave hit in April this year, people were struggling to get lifesaving medicines as there was a lack of coordination between the places where the medicines were available and those who needed them, the application read.

“Therefore I decided to be a conduit between the two, i.e. connecting bona fide needy people with the places where the aforesaid drugs were available, so that the latter could directly send the requisite drugs to the needy patient,” Sood said.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, the state’s lawyer said the actor procured medicines from pharmacies attached to a private hospital in the city. Pharma Company Cipla had supplied Remdesivir to these pharmacies and inquiry into the same was going on.

The court also took a stock of the state’s preparedness to face a possible third wave of the pandemic. Kumbhakoni informed the bench that the production of drugs against black fungus (mucormycosis) has been increased in the state, and nodal officers have been appointed to supervise the distribution of anti-COVID-19 drugs to hospitals.