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ED searches in several states in Kumbh Covid testing scam case

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By NS Desk 06-Aug-2021

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said that it is carrying out searches at several locations in Delhi, Uttarakhand's Dehradun and Haridwar, and Haryana's Hisar in connection with the fake Covid testing scam during the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar earlier this year.

An ED official said that the financial probe agency is carrying out searches at the office premises of Novus Path Labs, DNA Labs, Max Corporate Services, Dr Lal Chandani Labs Pvt Ltd, and Nalwa Laboratories Pvt Ltd and residential premises of their Directors at Dehradun, Haridwar, Delhi, Noida, and Hisar in connection with the case.

The ED had registered a case of money laundering on the basis of the FIR registered by Uttarakhand Police.

The official said that during probe, it was found that these labs were given the contract by the Uttarakhand government for conducting Rapid Antigen Test/RT-PCR test for Covid testing during the Kumbh Mela 2021, but they hardly carried out any Covid test and just made fake entries and raised bogus bills for illegal financial gains.

The official said that an amount of Rs 3.4 crore has already been received by them from the Uttarakhand government as part payment.

Explaining the modus operandi used by these labs, the official said that these labs used a single mobile number or false mobile number or single address or same specimen referral form (SRF) for multiple persons for showing the inflated numbers of Covid testing without actually doing the testing. He said that the probe also revealed that 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, positivity rate of Haridwar at that time was shown at 0.18 per cent against the actual 5.3 per cent," the official said, adding that during the searches, the ED has seized incriminating documents, bogus bills, laptops, mobile phones and property documents and cash to the tune of Rs 30.9 lakh.

The official said that the searches are still in progress.

--IANS

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