On the face of it, it had everything a standard private pathological laboratory should have — uniformed staff in lab coats, a corner room marked “Lab Entry” and a large clientele that waited patiently to give blood samples and take reports.
All it lacked was the basic apparatus or equipment to test blood samples.
Located close to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital in the Capital, this lab in Yusuf Sarai’s NDMC market has done roaring business over the past seven years and till Sunday was handing at least a hundred reports each day.
The reports were fake, bearing the forged signature of a well-known pathologist.
On Monday, police sealed the centre and registered a case against the 40-year-old owner Mohammad Nasim — a graduate in arts who had worked as a lab apprentice for several years.
Nasim was arrested and a case registered against him in South Delhi’s Hauz Khas for cheating hundreds of people, mostly poor patients from far-flung areas who came to two of India’s largest government hospitals for treatment.
An officer said most of the blood samples were never tested and reports were generated by the owner using his imagination. It is not how many people he had cheated.
His luck ran out when pathologist Dr Anu Kundra found out that a lab was using her forged signature on test reports. She sent a decoy to the diagnostic centre for proof.
“I was shocked … I sent an employee to the lab to get his blood group tested. When he got the report, it had my signature,” Kundra told police.
When police went to the lab for verification, they found it did not even have basic equipment to test something as ordinary as a person’s blood group.
“A microscope, some test tubes, containers and a computer attached to the printer were found. The accused used to take blood samples and prepare fake reports. If he felt the client was smart and literate, he sent the test sample to a proper lab,” a police source said.
Nasim picked up the basics of the trade while working in a pathology lab. “He knows the elements of a blood report and ranges for several tests. He had kept some original reports and referred to these for making fake reports. During his stint as an assistant in a laboratory he found the business lucrative and planned to start his own venture,” the source said.