Kumbh Fake COVID Tests Case: ED Raids Homes of Officials Involved

The positivity rate in Haridwar was shown at 0.18 percent, which was way below than the actual 5.3 percent.

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday, 6 August, searched the homes and offices of the top officials of five diagnostics firms for alleged money laundering, in relation to the fake COVID-19 testing case during the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand.

The ED had begun the investigation after the Uttarakhand Police filed a case in June.

The Uttarakhand government had given a contract to private labs for conducting rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests during the Kumbh Mela.

However, at least one lakh COVID-19 test reports were forged by the private agencies and bogus bills were raised during Kumbh festival in Haridwar, an investigation by government officials had revealed.

1800% Increase in COVID-19 Cases

The ED said that the labs used a single mobile number, address, and form for several people and overstated the number of COVID testing without actually conducting the tests.

The probe agency added that some names in the testing records had not even visited the Kumbh Mela.

Uttarakhand recorded an 1800 percent increase in COVID-19 cases between 31 March to 24 April, when the Haridwar Mahakumbh was held.

The massive congregation likely turned into a super spreader event in the state as Uttarakhand recorded 1.3 lakh COVID-19 cases in over a month , which is over half of the state’s case tally till date.

Over 35 lakh people had gathered at Haridwar on 12 April and 13.51 lakh on 14 April. Amid this, due to the fake tests, the positivity rate in Haridwar was shown at 0.18 percent, which was way below than the actual 5.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the ED has seized incriminating documents, fake bills, laptops, mobile phones, and property documents.

The companies ED has raided so far are Novus Path Labs, DNA Labs, Max Corporate Services, Dr Lal Chandani Labs, and Nalwa Laboratories, NDTV reported.

The ED added that homes of top officials in Dehradun, Haridwar, Delhi, Noida, and Hisar were searched, and also said in a statement that the companies had already received a payment of Rs 3.4 crore.

(With inputs from NDTV)

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