MUMBAI: A day after NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik alleged that the Centre was blocking the supply of Remdesivir medicine to the state, the BJP called for registration of an FIR against him for "spreading panic through false information".
The opposition party said the state government should file a case against Malik under the Disaster Management Act.
Addressing a press conference, BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar slammed the minister for claiming that the Centre was not allowing export companies to supply Remdesivir to Maharashtra.
Remdesivir is considered a key anti-viral drug in the fight against COVID-19, especially in the patients with severe complications.
Mungantiwar said Malik has made an unsuccessful attempt to create panic situation through his allegations.
"Under section 54 of the Disaster Management Act-2005, this is punishable with one-year imprisonment. The state government should file an FIR against him," the former state minister said. He said that Malik is minority affairs minister with skill development portfolio as well.
"He has the skill of maligning the Central government and creating panic through false statements," he added.
"On the one hand, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray says that nobody should indulge in politics during the pandemic, while on the other, his ministers make baseless charges," Mungantiwar said.
He also demanded a white paper on the assistance provided by the Centre to the state government in the last one year in terms of medical equipment,food supplies, grants in aid, centrally-sponsored schemes and GST refund.
He said the BJP will submit a memorandum of these demands tothe chief minister and will also urge Governor B S Koshyari to look into them.
Mungantiwar said Malik was a guardian minister of Gondia district, where many coronavirus patients died due to lack of oxygen.
"Instead of offering condolences to the bereaved families, he was maligning the central government.
The allegations that the Centre was not allowing Remdesivir to Maharashtra were not made by the health minister or the FDA minister, but by Malik who does not know anything about it," the BJP leader alleged.
Taking to Twitter, Malik had on Saturday said, "It is sad and shocking that when Government of Maharashtra asked 16 export companies for Remdesivir, we were told that the Central government has asked them not to supply the medicine to Maharashtra. These companies were warned, if they did, their license will be cancelled."
"This was a dangerous precedent and under these circumstances, the state government will have no choice but to seize the stock of Remdesivir from these exporters and supply it to the needy," he had said in another tweet.