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Chennai: Man held for issuing fake Covid-19 negative certificates on WhatsApp

The issue came to light after an HR professional came across a message saying his medical centre would issue a Covid-19 certificate within 30 minutes of an applicant sending their passport copy via WhatsApp.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
October 21, 2021 8:41:48 pm
According to the police, in the last one month, as many as 60-70 fake certificates were issued by the accused. (File photo)

A 29-year-old man was arrested by the Chennai police Wednesday for allegedly issuing fake Covid-19 negative certificates to people travelling abroad.

According to the police, the accused, identified as Irfan Khan from Triplicane, had issued the photoshopped certificates in exchange for Rs 500 with the help of one Praveen, who is currently in Dubai.

The issue came to light after an HR professional at a medical centre in Chennai’s Parrys lodged a complaint at North Beach police station. The HR employee had come across a message saying his medical centre would issue a Covid-19 certificate within 30 minutes of an applicant sending their passport copy via WhatsApp.

After paying Rs 500 though GPay to the given number and submitting a passport copy of his friend, the man was shocked to receive the Covid-19 certificate within the promised half-an-hour. He then lodged a police complaint. The police booked Irfan under sections 420, 465 of the IPC and IT Act and arrested him. He has been remanded in judicial custody.

According to the police, Irfan often travelled to various countries as an agent for illegal electronic items.

“A month ago, when he was about to visit Dubai, he was struggling to get a Covid-19 certificate. At that time, he came in contact with Praveen, who assured him of a certificate within 30 minutes. Paying Rs 500 via G-Pay, Irfan received the certificate in a PDF format on WhatsApp and boarded the flight,” Inspector Rajkumar told indianexpress.com.

He added that soon Irfan decided to get involved in the business. “Many started to approach Irfan. Praveen provided him a commission of Rs 100 per certificate. Irfan would receive the details from people and send them to Praveen, who would alter the name and other personal inormation. The sign and the seal remained the same in all certificates,” the police officer added.

According to the police, in the last one month, as many as 60-70 fake certificates were issued by Irfan. They said they are taking steps to gather the data of those who have used the fake certificates.

“We are collecting all his data, steps have been taken to contact the police in Dubai. We don’t know whether Praveen is a permanent resident there. We are also in touch with airport authorities,” the inspector added.

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