Uttarakhand orders probe against 9 testing labs - Hindustan Times
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Uttarakhand orders probe against 9 testing labs

By, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Jun 11, 2021 01:40 AM IST

A senior health department official said the irregularities came up after Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) asked the state health department to conduct a probe.

The Uttarakhand government on Thursday ordered a probe into the operations of the nine private Covid-19 testing laboratories that conducted tests of the visitors during the Haridwar Mahakumbh, after one of them was found to have allegedly issued fake test reports for least 50,000 samples, said a state minister.

The official said the CCO said a private laboratory informed the health department that it conducted about one lakh rapid antigen tests.(HT Photo)
The official said the CCO said a private laboratory informed the health department that it conducted about one lakh rapid antigen tests.(HT Photo)

The claim is based on state’s chief controlling officer (CCO) of Covid-19 Dr Abhishek Tripathi’s preliminary inquiry into allegation of fake Covid-19 tests during Mahakumbh, which took place as India was entering its second wave, with many experts saying it served as a superspreader event. “We have ordered a probe on all the nine private testing laboratories with which the Mela administration had signed a contract to conduct the Covid test of those coming to attend the mega religious fair. It was ordered after the state’s Covid CCO in his report to state health secretary confirmed the irregularities in about one lakh Covid-19 tests conducted by the laboratory in question,” said state government spokesperson Subodh Uniyal, adding that the laboratory in question has been “blacklisted.”

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“State director general of health has issued a general order from the health department to initiate probe on the remaining eight other private testing laboratories involved in the Mahakumbh. The government won’t spare anyone found involved in the irregularities,” he added.

A senior health department official said the irregularities came up after Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) asked the state health department to conduct a probe. “The complainant had claimed before the ICMR that when he went to attend the Mahakumbh, he had received an SMS that his samples have been collected for the test along with a proper valid id number. However, he gave no samples. The ICMR, citing the complaint, asked the health department to verify it after which Covid-19 CCO conducted the inquiry.”

The official said the CCO said a private laboratory informed the health department that it conducted about one lakh rapid antigen tests. “Of that one lakh tests, at least 50,000 are fake. It collected the samples in the above-mentioned fraudulent way and issued fake test reports of which most were negative... It most likely did this to siphon off money from the government because for a single rapid antigen test, it was to receive 354 from the state government in Mahakumbh,” the official said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Kalyan Das covers crime, transport, human rights and central government offices from Bhopal and Indore.

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