COVID testing scam in Kumbh: Uttarakhand SIT notice to three firms for questioning

Dehradun: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Monday (June 21) issued notices to three firms involved in alleged COVID-19 testing scam during the recently-concluded Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. 

Citing SIT sources, an ANI report said that a notice has been issued to Max Corporate Service New Delhi, Nalwa Laboratories Pvt Ltd of Haryana, and Dr Lalchandani Lab for questioning. The SIT has reportedly given these firms a notice of four days to appear before the probe team. 

Notably, SIT CMO Dr S N Jha has been recording the statements of Kumbh Mela CMO Dr Arjun Singh Sengar for the last four days.

Earlier on Thursday, Haridwar District Magistrate told ANI that investigations should be done to find out if the private laboratories engaged by the state government to conduct tests during the Kumbh had been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) before their empanelment.

“The whole matter will also be probed by CO rank level officer. There seems to be a flaw also in the process of empanelling the labs. It should have been probed if they were approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) before their empanellment. But this was not done. This is a matter of investigation,” the DM C Ravi Shankar is quoted by ANI as saying. 

He further said, “The matter was being investigated on the district administration level and on Dehradun level as well. In the district-level probe, many inconsistencies have been found in the COVID test reports during Mahakumbh. In this connection, a case has been lodged against Max corporate agency and two private labs.” 

The DM said that after the preliminary investigation, the further probe is underway and it can take up to 10 more days. Other sections will also be added to the case on the basis of the report. He informed that in the Dehradun-level investigation, it was found that as many as 1 lakh test reports were produced by only one lab which is impossible, adding that discrepancies in data entry have also been found. 

Uttrakhand government, however, has registered a case against two private labs and Max Corporate Limited agency in this connection. 

The state health department lodged an FIR at Nagar Kotwali police station against Max corporate agency, Lalchandani Labs, and Nalwa Lab in Nagar Kotwali, according to Senior Superintendent of Police in Haridwar Senthil Avoodai Krishna Raj. 

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