Fake Covid-19 reports: Probe transferred from state vigilance to Amritsar police, activists smell a rat
A fortnight ago, the vigilance claimed to have unearthed the scam that involved swindling the rich, including foreign returnees, out of their moneyUpdated: Jul 09, 2020 23:58 IST
The investigation into the case of alleged preparing of fake Covid-19 positive reports by an Amritsar-based private laboratory in connivance with a hospital to fleece patients has been transferred from the Punjab vigilance bureau to the local police.
A fortnight ago, the vigilance claimed to have unearthed the scam that involved swindling the rich, including foreign returnees, out of their money. It had registered a case against four doctors, including Dr Robin Tuli, owner of Tuli Diagnostic Center (TDC), under attempt to murder, fraud, criminal conspiracy and corruption on June 23. Also, the owner of EMC Super Specialty Hospital, Dr Pawan Arora, and a doctor were booked for allegedly colluding with the lab.
In a letter, the state government has asked the additional chief secretary (home and justice) to take “necessary action” claiming that the vigilance has “decided to transfer the case to the police”.
A senior VB official confirmed the development. Amritsar police commissioner Sukhchain Singh said he was not aware of it. “I have not received such order yet,” he said.
Mandeep Singh Manna, a social activist, said, “The probe has been transferred with a clear motive to give clean chit to the accused. This is happening for the first time when the probe is transferred without the complainants’ intervention.”
One of the complainants, Varinder Dutta, whose three family members allegedly contracted the virus from the EMC Hospital, expressed shock on the move.
He said, “Before approaching the vigilance, we lodged complaints with the city police, but they did not act saying the issue pertains to the health department. The vigilance was conducting a fair probe, which was just about to complete. The move will help the accused get bail.”
The fake Covid-19 report scam surfaced when some people who were found positive by the private labs turned out to be negative in retesting conducted at Government Medical College (GMC), Amritsar.
The bureau registered the case after receiving several complaints in this regard. In its FIR, it also suspected the involvement of government officials and health staff in the scam.
It also found that some of those tested positive were admitted to the isolation ward of the EMC Hospital where Covid patients were being treated. At least three patients reportedly contracted infection due to this, it was claimed.
A few days after the registration of the case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also started probe into the alleged nexus.