The Uttarakhand Police Thursday lodged an FIR against a private agency and two laboratories for allegedly issuing fake rapid antigen test reports during the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar with an intention to make financial profit.
This comes after Chief Medical Officer S K Jha submitted a complaint to the police mentioning that a three-member inquiry panel, set up by the Haridwar district magistrate, submitted a preliminary report on Wednesday — nearly a month after the state health department was forwarded a complaint from ICMR on May 14. The complaint mentioned a person’s Aadhaar and mobile number being used for a Covid-19 test despite no collection of sample.
As per the CMO’s complaint, the inquiry panel found that the firm made a large number of entries on the same sample ID: such as 3,825 samples being collected from a single address and 56 people registered with a single phone number. “The firm made fake entries to make profit,” stated the complaint.
Haridwar SSP Santhil Avodai Krishna Raj S said, “On the CMO’s complaint, an FIR has been lodged against firm Max Corporate Service Kumbh Mela, and two labs including, Nalwa Laboratories Private Limited, Hisar and Dr Lal Chandani La, Delhi. Necessary action is being taken.” The SSP said that the findings of the panel formed under the Chief Development Officer has been mentioned in the complaint as grounds for FIR.
Kotwali Nagar police SHO Rajesh Shah said the FIR has been lodged under IPC sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), and provisions of the Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act.
Asked about the issue on Thursday, Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat said “this is from before my tenure”. “Wo mamla purana hai. Main March me aaya hun. Wo mamla bahut purana hai. …. Yeh maine kaha ki mere samay se pehle ka hai (the matter is old. I have come in March. The matter is very old…I said this is from before my time),” Tirath said, adding that he has already ordered a probe and strict action will be taken against those found guilty.
Tirath Singh Rawat had replaced Trivendra Singh Rawat as CM on March 10 when the Kumbh Mela was underway. The Mela formally began on April 1 through a notification.
At least 24 private labs were roped in —14 by the district administration and 10 by Kumbh mela administration — for conducting random testing of visitors.