Deb of fake jabs a master of many rackets

The Calcutta Police’s special investigation team has registered three more cases against Debanjan Deb, who was masquerading as an IAS officer and running fake vaccine camps across the city.

According to sources in the detective department, Deb had spread his racket much beyond the fake vaccine camps.

In the new complaints that have come up against Deb, he had swindled traders and private firms worth nearly a crore. A private firm allegedly paid him Rs 1.2lakh for vaccinating its 172 employees. From a pharma company,  he had allegedly received Rs 4 lakh for clearing a tender. A contractor had allegedly paid him Rs 90 lakh for constructing a stadium.

Police have made three more arrests in the case, all of whom were scheduled to be produced in court on Saturday.

Susanta Das, 54, and Rabin Sikder, 31, were among the two other signatories in a bank account that Deb was operating in the name of Calcutta Municipal Corporation. Das is a resident of Salt Lake, while Sikder is from Barasat.

The third member arrested was identified as Santanu Manna, a Taltala resident, who was employed by Deb. Deb had floated an NGO and was collecting data including Aadhaar cards and personal details of individuals.

(From left to right) Santanu Manna, Susanta Das and Rabin Sikder.

“We will submit a prayer before the court to add Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (attempt to murder) against Deb,” said Murli Dhar, joint commissioner of police (crime), Calcutta Police.

Under Section 307 of  IPC any person who commits and act with intention or the knowledge that the same could cause death would be held guilty of murder and could face imprisonment for life or not less than 10 years.

The racket for administering fake vaccines was reported by Trinamul MP Mimi Chakraborty after she got inoculated but did not receive any certificate.

 The Calcutta Police has set up a special investigation team with officers from the detective department to “investigate the larger conspiracy” in the fake vaccine case.   

Deb had impersonated as an IAS officer posted as joint commissioner in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and even operated bank accounts in the civic body’s name. 

He had set up the NGO Urban Planning and recruited around 12 people, but did not have any license to run it.  He was involved in distribution of masks and sanitisers during the Covid pandemic, which helped him build a network in several areas in and around Calcutta.

“It is very unlikely that he could have run the entire operation without any help from officials in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation,” said a police officer.

Deb has confessed that the antibiotics that he had passed off as Covid vaccines were procured from Bagri market.

He had worked with the information and cultural affairs department in event management between 2014 and 2017 that helped him come in contact with several local Trinamul leaders across the city.  

The health department has started a camp for identifying recipients of the fake vaccine at the Kasba camp, where the Trinamul MP too went for her inoculation.

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