Now a big disclosure has come to light in the case of lakhs of fake Covid-19 test reports in Haridwar Kumbh Mela. An investigation by News18 has found that during the Kumbh Mela, the firm which was given the contract to conduct the coronavirus test is only on paper. Labs hired by the firm allegedly conducted lakhs of fake corona tests.
Papers accessed by News18 show that the Haridwar Kumbh administration signed an MoU with Max Consultancy Service (MCS) in April to conduct Covid-19 tests. The paper shows that the consultancy had two labs to collect samples for rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests.
In fact, after a complaint from Punjab resident Vipan Mittal, it was found that thousands of tests were fake. News18 reached the office of the Consultancy Service shown on record and found that no such office existed in Bhikaji Cama Place area in New Delhi.
On checking the website, a team also reached one of his offices in Noida’s Sector 63, but there was only one building in that area, whose gate was chained. The number of a property dealer was written outside this building.
Mittal, who is now believed to be the whistleblower in this case, is an LIC agent from Faridkot. One day he got his “test report” via an SMS. The report, though negative, was a setback for him as he had not even got tested for the virus.
According to a local report, the LIC agent initially thought that someone stole his personal data and is now misusing it. So they first approached the local authorities, but were denied.
Health department officials also showed little interest in his case, so they went ahead and lodged a complaint with ICMR. ICMR took note of Mittal’s case, but when several days passed and no action was taken, he finally filed an RTI to find out what the matter really was.
Following this, the matter gained momentum and an investigation found that the lab that conducted Mittal’s Covid-19 test was located in Haridwar. Further investigation into the matter revealed that Mittal was not alone. About one lakh fake reports were presented under a big scam.
Kumbh health officer Dr. Arjun Sengar said the firm seemed fine to him, as he had submitted all the documents. One Arjun Negi, whose name has been mentioned in official communication on behalf of a consultancy firm. He claimed that he has been working for the company for a long time. She said, “I am not responsible for wrongdoings. I was there to help the firm for some time.”
The Kumbh administration had tied up with different labs to charge Rs 354 for each antigen test and Rs 500 for RT-PCR test. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Secretary (Health) Amit Negi has asked the Haridwar authorities to stop the payment of Rs 3 crore to the firm.
Uttarakhand cabinet minister Subodh Uniyal said, “The Haridwar administration is investigating and we hope for a fair report.”
According to official records, 22 labs hired by the administration during the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar conducted close to four lakh corona tests. Lakhs of devotees had reached the fair despite restrictions.
From former Nepal king Gyanendra, former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to Akhara Parishad chief Narendra Giri and many other saints were found infected with corona soon after attending the fair.
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