Court Dismisses Plea Seeking NIA Probe into Origin of Coronavirus

A Delhi court has dismissed a plea by former Director General of Health and Services seeking a probe into the alleged origin of the COVID-19 virus from China and its spread thereafter. Additional Sessions Judge Parveen Singh rejected the application filed by Dr Jagdish Prasad saying that a bare reading of the complaint reflected that the plea was based upon media reports, opinions, conjectures, surmises, probabilities and possibilities. There are no categorical facts which have been alleged and only the possibilities that SARS-CoV-2 might have been genetically modified at Wuhan Laboratories have been raised and that too not on the basis of facts but on the basis of view of experts, the judge said.

The court said that opinions can never substitute facts and for creation of an offence, certain facts constituting the offence need to be disclosed and not the mere possibilities as was done in the present case. Therefore, the court said the complaint did not call for any investigation as it was based on theories which had been propounded by individuals on assumptions and analysis raised by them, which in no manner could be said to be an established fact. I accordingly find no merits in the present complaint. The same is accordingly dismissed, the judge said in an order passed on August 7. Prasad, a former Director General of Health and Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, had urged the court to direct the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to lodge an FIR for various offences punishable under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act and Indian Penal Code.

The complaint said it was a public knowledge that the origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS- CoV-2), which causes COVID-19, was in the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province, China. The complaint claimed that even though the intelligence agencies and agencies responsible for oversight of immigration into India were aware of the risk associated with the virus, and yet did not issue any warnings, directions, or take any steps to control the spread of the virus in the early stages. It further submitted that the discovery of facts in the knowledge of several officials who have been involved in the management of the spread of COVID-19 in India may also be necessary. In view of the nefarious, terrorist, expansionist, aggressive and animus behavior of China at the borders in North-East region of India, it would be very dangerous to not undertake a detailed investigation qua the origins and spread of the virus from China to India so that the entire truth in this regard can come out and the guilty are punished in accordance with various provisions of Indian laws, it had said.

It claimed the virus was a possible deliberate conspiracy by state and/or non-state actors in China, as part of a coordinated creation and transmission of the virus.

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