Gujarat Police have arrested as many as 180 quacks in three months and more likely to be booked.
An idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop. And the Covid-19 crisis since March 2020 has spawned many a criminal entrepreneur out of empty minds during various forms of lockdown. Small wonder some quacks renewed their practice and many others became one.
Take Shyam Rajani, 32, and his father Hemant Rajani, who converted their hotel, The Great Bhagwati, on Rajkot’s Kuvavad Road into a Covid Care Centre and started treating Covid-19 patients there.
More startling, this was not their first venture. They were arrested three years ago for allegedly practicing allopathy without any medical degree at all. The father-son duo converted their hotel into a Covid centre when they were out on bail.
According to the FIR lodged at B Division Police Station in Rajkot, Rajanis used to charge Rs 18,000 a day from Covid patients. They were nabbed on April 24, 2021.
This is not a one-off story. In a space of three months from April, the Gujarat Police have booked as many as 180 such medi-preneurs and picked up 173 of them from different corners of the State.
Kushalsinh Rathod, 42, of Sabarmati, Ahmedabad was rounded up by the Special Operations Group (SOG), for running an allopathy clinic. Allopathy medicines were recovered from him. Not far away, the Ahmedabad Rural police picked up Hemant Roy, a native of West Bengal and settled in Gujarat for a year, from Vataman village of Dholka Taluka and Ramzan Khalifa from Aniyari village of Sanand Taluka.
Gujarat Director-General of Police (DGP) Ashish Bhatia said the scourge of quackery came to their notice while they were investigating cases regarding manufacture and black marketing of fake Covid medicines.
“During a meeting to chalk out a strategy to crack down on elements involved in manufacturing fake Covid medicines, it came to light that Narmada district police had arrested two quacks who were practicing allopathy in a remote area of Dediyapada. We then launched a statewidecrackdown on such quacks,” Bhatia said.
He said such quacks practiced in remote areas and played with the lives of innocent people to make a quick buck. “We are continuing with our crackdown on such elements and will see to it that they are brought to book at the earliest,” he added.
Immediate past president of Ahmedabad Chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr Mona Desai said those who had been caught were just the tip of the iceberg, “there are many more.” When asked, she said it would be more than 500.
“Such elements should not be allowed to play with people’s lives, Covid or no Covid. They should be arrested. We are totally against quackery” Dr Desai said.