Will provide security to Poonawalla if he seeks, Maharashtra tells HC

Plea claims the SII CEO is being threatened by Chief Ministers and businessmen for vaccine supply

The Maharashtra government on Friday told the Bombay High Court that it would provide security to Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla, if he asked for the same.

A Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar was hearing a petition filed by advocate Datta Mane through advocate Pradeep Havnur. The plea is seeking Z plus security to Mr. Poonawalla, as he is being threatened by Chief Ministers and businessmen to supply Covishield vaccine. The petition also seeks for a direction to register an FIR against those threatening Mr. Poonawalla and provide security to him and his family. He is already provided Y category security.

In the last hearing, the court said, “The manufacturing of the vaccine is in our State which is a welfare State and a modern State. Our expectation is that someone must talk to him and assure him of protection. Presently see his role, it is a very substantial role. Please do not treat it as adversarial litigation.”

Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare told the court that if Mr. Poonawalla sought protection, the State government would provide him adequate security.

The court said, “We cannot keep entertaining such petitions. In view of the statement made by the prosecutor, we are of the view that this petition can be disposed of.”

The court disposed of the plea and said, “These are personal matters. What if he [Mr. Poonawalla] says he does not want protection or he is not afraid. We cannot go behind the back of people and pass orders,” the Bench said.

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