The Rajasthan Police on Saturday lodged an FIR against yoga guru Ramdev for launching an Ayurvedic drug that claims to cure COVID-19 without getting the AYUSH ministry’s approval, a senior officer said.
Four others – MD of Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurved Acharya Balkrishna; Director of National Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (NIMS), Jaipur, BS Tomar; his son Anurag Tomar; and senior scientist Anurag Varshney – have also been named in the FIR, he said.
Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurved on Tuesday launched “Coronil”, claiming it can cure COVID-19. It said the drug, when taken with another Patanjali product, had cured all coronavirus positive patients who took part in a trial within seven days.
The trial, it said, was conducted in association with the NIMS, a Jaipur-based private institute.
Hours after the launch of the drug, the AYUSH ministry asked Patanjali Ayurved to provide details on the research leading up to it and its composition, telling the company to stop advertising it till the issue is examined.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashok Gupta said a case has been registered at the Jyoti Nagar Police Station in Jaipur on the basis of a complaint lodged by advocate Balram Jakhad. He said multiple complaints were received against Ramdev at various police stations. The five have been booked under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, according to police.
“The main accusation is cheating people under the garb of selling COVID-19 medicine,” Jakhar told Indian Express. “I will also approach the court to demand a CBI inquiry. It is our demand that action be taken against the accused.”
Jakhar, who identified himself to the newspaper as an independent advocate subscribing to the “ideology of the Congress party”, cited previous cases registered against Tomar to demand a detailed investigation into the matter.
The complainant Jakhad said a press conference was organised in Haridwar wherein Ramdev claimed to have developed medicine to treat coronavirus. The medicine has not been approved by the AYUSH ministry.
Stating that FIRs had earlier been registered against Tomar in different matters and he was also in judicial custody, Jakhar further told the newspaper, “It should be investigated how Tomar, who runs a hospital not related to Ayurved, launched this alleged COVID-19 medicine with Ramdev. We demand a detailed investigation into roles of every accused in the case.”
Tomar claimed that Patanjali had permission to conduct Coronil trials on patients, India Today reported. He said, “We had all required permissions for conducting the trial on patients. Prior permission for testing was taken from CTRI, which is a body of ICMR. I have papers to show permission.”
“Trials were conducted on 100 patients at NIMS, Jaipur and 69 percent of them were cured in three days, while 100 percent were cured in seven days,” he further told India Today. He added, “The question of whether Coronil should have been propagated as an immunity booster or cure should be asked from Patanjali. We had informed the Rajasthan health department on 2 June.”
On Thursday, Patanjali claimed that it has complied with all legalities. The license for the drug was obtained on the basis of the traditional knowledge and experience related to the medicinal virtues of Ashwagandha, Giloy, and Tulsi, Patanjali spokesperson SK Tijarawala said, as per PTI. No illegal claim has been made on the label of the medicine, he further said.
With inputs from PTI