RT-PCR testing at a Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation hospital. (Bachchan Kumar/ /HT photo)
RT-PCR testing at a Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation hospital. (Bachchan Kumar/ /HT photo)

No financial irregularities in Covid testing: Navi Mumbai civic body panel report

A three-member inquiry committee set up to probe into the false-negative reports of Covid-19 tests, prepared by some testing centres under the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), has submitted its report to the municipal commissioner
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:25 AM IST

A three-member inquiry committee set up to probe into the false-negative reports of Covid-19 tests, prepared by some testing centres under the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), has submitted its report to the municipal commissioner. The panel has indicated that there were no financial irregularities as alleged by an activist.

The report also highlighted that it was a faulty registration procedure that led to the addition of some people to the ICMR website even as no Covid tests were conducted on them.

A city-based activist, in November, had alleged that some testing laboratories under the NMMC would seek details of the family members of a person visiting the Covid-19 testing centre and then would prepare fake negative reports in their names to show that tests were conducted on all of them in order to claim funding for each test.

Following media reports on the activist’s allegation, the civic chief set up an inquiry committee to probe the allegation. The committee submitted an 11,591 page report to the municipal commission on Thursday.

As per the report, the committee reached out to around 1,51,956 citizens who had reportedly undergone either antigen or RT-PCR test for Covid-19 between July 16 and November 30, 2020. The committee had interacted with them through a dedicated call centre and asked those people whether they had actually undergone the tests. Of the 1,51,965 citizens, 1,50,359 admitted to have undergone the tests. However, 1,597 citizens said they did not go for any test.

Likewise, the committee made another verification by physically visiting a total of 1,845 citizens’ home. Of these, they found that 1,843 had gone for the tests and the remaining two did not.

“After checking all the documents the committee came to the conclusion that 7,872 additional entries were made on the ICMR website that was a result of faulty registration procedures,” said an official from the public relation department.

“The committee also checked the inventory of antigen test kits. The civic body had bought a total of 2,40,000 kits of which 2,13,604 kits were used while 4,717 were found defective. And, a total of 21,679 kits were available in the inventory. Thus, by recording statements of nodal officers, doctors, and other staff the committee concluded that there were no financial irregularities in the testing of Covid-19” he added.

Despite repeated attempts, the NMMC commissioner, Abhijit Bangar, remained unavailable for comment.

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