Max Corporate Services had hired two labs to conduct COVID-19 tests after Uttarakhand High Court directed the Uttarakhand government to test samples daily to curb the spread of infection.

A healthcare worker dressed in PPE kit collecting nasal swab sample for COVID-19 testRepresentative Image/ PTI
news Coronavirus Friday, June 18, 2021 - 20:15

Max Corporate Services on Friday moved the Uttarakhand High Court challenging an FIR filed against it for allegedly conducting nearly one lakh fake COVID-19 tests during the Kumbh Mela. The company pleaded before the court in Nainital that it had no role to play in any fake COVID-19 tests conducted during the religious congregation, the firm's counsel Kartikeya Hari Gupta said. In the petition to the court, the company said it was merely a service provider with no actual role in generating fake COVID-19 test reports as it only signed a contract with the ICMR-accredited laboratories namely Nalwa Laboratories Private Limited and Dr Lal Chandani Labs Limited to conduct the tests.

If any fake testing has been done, Max Corporate Services has no role to play in it and it is willing to co-operate in the probe, Gupta said. "We have pleaded before the court that our client facilitated the testing through these two labs as per the government work order. All the sample collection and other data entries were done under the knowledge and supervision of the government health authorities. We have requested the court to protect the petitioner from any coercive measures of police and in whatever manner the government wants to investigate, our client is ready and willing to cooperate. We have filed the petition today and hope for an early hearing,” the counsel said.

The Uttarakhand government on Thursday lodged a case against a company and two private labs for fudging coronavirus test reports during the Haridwar Kumbh Mela in April. An FIR was lodged by the Uttarakhand police in Haridwar on Thursday against Max Corporate Services which has been under the scanner for allegedly conducting around one lakh fake COVID-19-19 tests during Kumbh Mela and two private labs with which it had signed an MoU.

The Uttarakhand High Court had directed the state government to test 50,000 samples daily to control the spread of COVID-19 during the religious congregation, for which the Health Department awarded the contract to Max Corporate Service, who further hired the two labs. The company and both labs were booked under the Epidemic Diseases and the Disaster Management Acts besides Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.

The matter had come to light after a man complained to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that he received a message on his mobile phone about his test report coming negative at the Kumbh even though he had not given a sample for it. After receiving the complaint from the ICMR, the Uttarakhand government asked the Haridwar district magistrate to investigate the matter and a three-member panel was constituted for it.

Preliminary investigations revealed that many private labs roped in by the district Health Department issued fake Covid test reports in the name of random people on the basis of their identity cards and phone numbers. It is suspected that more than one lakh such test results had been issued by the private labs, sources in the department had said. The labs apparently did so to meet the daily testing quota of 50,000 tests set by the Uttarakhand High Court, the sources said.

 

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