BJP Government Allowing Middlemen to Profit, "Insult To Every Indian": Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi Tue, 28 Apr 2020

BJP Government Allowing Middlemen to Profit, "Insult To Every Indian": Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader and Wayanad MP, Rahul Gandhi, who has stressed numerous times on increased testing India’s fight against coronavirus, attacked those attempting to earn huge profits from the sale of rapid testing kits.

At a time when the nation faces an uncertain future, India faces a leadership crisis. The crisis is not driven by mere incompetence of the BJP government, but by its sheer heartlessness in ignoring the massive profiteering by the middlemen in the procurement process of the SARS CoV-2 Antibody test kits.

A dispute between the importer and the distributor of the crucial SARS CoV-2 Antibody test kits, has revealed that there is a massive profiteering of almost 145% in the procurement process. Each testing kit upon landing in India costs ₹ 245, including the freight costs. The importer then sells it to the distributor at a price of ₹ 400 per kit. This is in-turn procured by the Indian Council of Medical Research at a cost of ₹ 600 per kit and a total of five lakh kits have been ordered on March 27th, of which 2.24 lakh kits are yet to be delivered. The payment for the delivered kits is yet to be made to the importer and this dispute in the court led to the revelation of the massive profiteering. The court has stated that the cost cannot be higher than ₹ 400 per kit.

On this issue, the opposition leader tweeted an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act against them. Rahul Gandhi was very upset about hearing about the reports that India is paying double for Chinese Rapid Antibody Tests that have been put on hold in many states because of faulty results. 

"When the entire country is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, some people are still trying to earn profits using unscrupulous ways. Such a corrupt mindset makes me cringe. The country will never pardon them," Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.

In another tweet, he wrote: "That any human being would try & profiteer from the immeasurable suffering of millions of his brothers & sisters, is beyond belief & comprehension. This scam is an insult to every Indian. I urge the PM to act swiftly to bring the corrupt to justice. (sic)".  

Nearly 30,000 people in India have tested positive for COVID-19 so far and more than 950 have died. 

Gaurav Gogoi, another Congress leader also reacted to the testing kits controversy. He wrote: "When India needs to expand its testing, faulty antibody test kits have been bought by the Government of India at an inflated price. Accountability must be fixed for this gross mismanagement. Request the Centre to take action."

Similarly, Congress's Ahmed Patel wrote: "The recent Delhi HC judgement has raised  a pertinent question -Why was ICMR purchasing antibody test kits for Rs 600 per piece,which was imported for Rs 245? In the midst of a pandemic, no one should profit at the expense of  poor. Hope Govt clarifies this." 

Rahul Gandhi's latest tweet comes after he asked the PM to remove what he referred to as a "bottleneck" regarding testing of coronavirus in the country. "Experts agree that mass random testing is the key to beating Corona. In India, a bottle neck is stopping us from scaling testing from the current 40,000 per day to 1 lakh tests a day, for which test kits are already in stock. PM needs to act fast & clear the bottleneck," he wrote.

Now, the Delhi High Court has put a cap on the price of each testing kit to Rs. 400.