A plea has been filed before the Bombay High Court seeking Z+ security cover for Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute of India (SII) which manufactures Covishield vaccine.
The plea filed by Mumbai lawyer Datta Mane also sought registration of FIR against persons who allegedly threatened Poonawalla in relation to supply of the vaccine.
Mane, petitioner in person submitted that if vaccine makers feel unsafe, then it may affect vaccine production.
"If Adar Poonawalla is out of India, due to fear to his life, then it will be ship in storm without its captain" the plea stated.
Mane relied upon report of Times of India which said that Poonawalla left for United Kingdom due to fear and constant pressure from powerful people including Chief Ministers of States and business tycoons for supply of vaccine.
Mane submitted that he was shocked and surprised when Poonawalla claimed in an interview with 'The Times' that he was being threatened by powerful people.
The plea said that Poonawalla's life and assets of SII "which is world's biggest vaccine producing institute which produces COVID-19 vaccine namely Covishield" should be protected.
Mane submitted that vaccinating a population of over 1.3 billion people is a challenge to the country while highlighting that India has, to date, given 15,40,00,000 doses to its population which is only about 2% of the total population.
Covishield vaccine is a life saver for people across India and hence he is entitled to the reliefs claimed in the petition, Mane contended.
"Failure to contain the pandemic in India could have disastrous consequences with widespread cases and thousands of death that could easily overwhelm the health care infrastructure," it was submitted.
It was also pointed out that Poonawalla had been granted 'Y' category security cover by the Home Ministry, however the security granted seemed to be inadequate as Poonawalla left the country after such security was granted.
Mane claimed that he had filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Pune Police and the Director General of Police, Maharashtra.
Even otherwise, Mane claimed, the Maharashtra government had requested Poonawalla to register a complaint so that action could be taken against such people pressurising him.
In view of the above, Mane sought the following:
Directions to the Commissioner of Pune Police and Director General of Maharashtra Police to register an FIR against complaint filed by Mane.
Direct respondents to provide 'Z Plus' security cover to Poonawalla and his family members and also protect the assets of SII.