Thursday, September 29, 2022

COVID testing scam: ED raids multiple labs for false results during Kumbh Mela

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The Enforcement Directorate on Friday conducted searches at the office premises of five laboratories in five different cities in connection with the investigation into the fake COVID testing scam during Kumbh Mela at Haridwar.

Novus Path Labs, DNA Labs, Max Corporate Services, Dr Lal Chandani Labs Pvt Ltd and Nalwa Laboratories Pvt Ltd were among those searched along with the residential premises of their Directors at Dehradun, Haridwar, Delhi, Noida and Hisar.

The ED initiated a money-laundering investigation on the basis of the First Information Report (FIR) registered by Uttarakhand Police.

According to ED, During the money laundering investigation it is revealed that these labs were given the contract by the Uttarakhand government for conducting Rapid Antigen Test and RT-PCR test for COVID testing during the Kumbh Mela this year.

“These Labs hardly carried out any COVID test (Rapid Antigen Test and RT-PCR Test), but made fake entries for the COVID testing and raised bogus bills in order to earn illegal financial gains,” ED said.

An amount of Rs 3.4 crore has already been received by them from the Uttarakhand government as part payment, it said.

The agency said that the modus operandi used by these labs was that they used a single mobile number or false mobile number or single address and the same Specimen Referral Form (SRF) for multiple persons for showing the inflated numbers of Covid testing without actually doing the testing.

The investigation further revealed that testing was claimed to be done in the name of the persons, who never visited Kumbh Mela.

Due to false-negative testing by these labs, the ED mentioned, positivity rate of Haridwar at that time was shown at 0.18 per cent against the actual 5.3 per cent.

During the search proceedings, the ED said it has seized incriminating documents, bogus bills, laptops, mobile phones and property documents.

“Search has resulted in the seizure of cash to the tune of Rs 30.9 lakh. Raids in the case are still going on and further investigation in the matter is under progress,” the ED added.

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