The fire at the premises of Serum Institute of India was an "accident and there is absolutely no doubt about the integrity of scientists working with the Pune-based vaccine major, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar said on Friday.
Pawar made the remarks in Kolhapur while replying to a question from reporters about allegations of sabotage behind the fire on Thursday.
Five labourers died in the fire which broke out in a five-storeyed under-construction building in the Serum Institute of India's Manjari premises in Pune.
The Manjari facility is where Covishield, the SII vaccine against COVID-19 which is being used in the nationwide inoculation drive, is manufactured.
The building where the fire broke out is one km from the Covishield vaccine manufacturing unit.
A probe is on to find out the cause of the blaze.
Asked about allegations of sabotage in the incident, Pawar said, "It is not right for us to speak today. But we have absolutely no doubt about the integrity of experts, scientists working at Serum. This is an accident."
To a question about a section of people showing hesitancy in taking doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the NCP president said the SII is a world-renowned institute and noted that experts have advocated the use of its products.
" ...the prime minister has advocated it (taking COVID-19 vaccine). The experts are for the products of Serum Institute. Once they (experts) are of that view, what me and you have to comment on this," Pawar said.