Covid: Case against firm, two private labs for fake test reports during Kumbh

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The Uttarakhand government on Thursday lodged a case against a company and two private labs for fudging coronavirus test reports during the Haridwar Kumbh Mela in April.

The firm, Max Corporate Service, Nalwa Laboratories Private Limited of Hisar and Delhi-based Dr Lalchandani Lab have been accused of issuing fake negative test reports.

The Uttarakhand High Court had directed the state government to test 50,000 samples daily to control the spread of Covid during the religious congregation, for which the Health Department awarded the contract to Max Corporate Service, who further hired the two labs.

Confirming the lodging of the case, DGP Ashok Kumar said the complaint was lodged on behalf of Haridwar Chief Medical Officer Shambhu Kumar Jha.

He said the company and both labs have been booked under the Epidemic Diseases and the Disaster Management Acts besides Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.

The matter had come to light after a man complained to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that he received a message on his mobile phone about his test report coming negative at the Kumbh even though he had not given a sample for it.

After receiving the complaint from the ICMR, the Uttarakhand government asked the Haridwar district magistrate to investigate the matter and a three-member panel was constituted for it.

Preliminary investigations revealed that many private labs roped in by the district Health Department issued fake Covid test reports in the name of random people on the basis of their identity cards and phone numbers.

It is suspected that more than one lakh such test results had been issued by the private labs, sources in the department had said.

The labs apparently did so to meet the daily testing quota of 50,000 tests set by the Uttarakhand High Court, the sources said.

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