On June 21, two labs- Lalchandani Labs and Nalwa Labs approached Uttarakhand High Court against the allegations of conducting fake Covid-19 tests during Kumbh Mela.
Last week, the police filed a case against Delhi-based Lalchandani Labs and Nalwa Labs in Haryana’s Hisar district along with Noida- based Max-cooperate services.
Noida-based Max Corporate Services had signed contracts with the labs to facilitate and coordinate testing.
According to the case filed, the labs conducted around 1 lakh fake rapid antigen tests during the Kumbh Mela.
However, Lalchandani Labs refuted the allegations and told the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday that it had only done 12,000 tests between April 1 and 26.
This was done after signing a memorandum of understanding with Max Corporate Services. The lab also denied accusations of misappropriating crores of rupees.
In its petition, Lalchandani Labs said, “The labs conducted tests at nominal Rs 206 per test and the total bill for these tests was around Rs 24.74 lakh and not crores of rupees reported by media,” the lab said in its petition.
Meanwhile, Parikshit Saini, Nalwa lab’s lawyer denied any sort of payment from Max for the contract and also refuted the claims of sending its technicians to conduct tests at the Kumbh Mela.
“Max Corporate Services never asked or requested to provide any technical support nor any of our technicians were called for any training,” Saini said.
Max Corporate services defended itself by saying it was just a service provider and not an accredited lab for testing. “Max entered into contracts with two labs, which were responsible for sample collection, testing, data feeding, and report generation,” it said.
Disputing Malwa Labs’ claim about non-payment, Max claimed that it had paid Rs 15 lakh to its partner. Asserting that the fact that it has documents to prove, the representative of Max said, “Nalwa signed an MoU [memorandum of understanding], gave authorization letter, had representatives working on-site and uploaded the data from their account.”
The two labs received notices from the Special Investigation Team of Uttarakhand Police to appear for interrogation.
The irregularities are also being investigated by Haridwar and the Kumbha Mela administration.
Between April 1 and April 30, hundreds of pilgrims were allowed to gather for a ritual bath in the river Ganga in Kumbh.
This took place when India was going through an exponential surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in its second wave. The gathering witnessed a violation of every Covid-29 protocol.
Uttarakhand High Court had criticized the state government for failing to establish Covid-19 protocols during Kumb Mela and Char Dham Yatra.
It also made it compulsory for the labs to conduct 50 thousand covid tests on a daily basis. Reports indicate that the private laboratories conducted fake tests to meet the daily testing quota set by the Uttarakhand High Court order.
Around twenty-two, private laboratories had been contracted for conducting Covid-19 tests during the festival.