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Fake Covid test racket busted, three in cop net

Fake Covid test racket busted, three in cop net

Kolkata: Kolkata Police on Saturday unearthed a fake COVID-19 test racket and arrested three key persons including two contractual technicians of state-run hospitals.

Police said that the arrested persons are Biswajit Sikdar and Indrajit Sikdar from East Putiari while one Asit Patra was picked up from Haridevpur. Biswajit joined SSKM Hospital as laboratory technician on July 14 while Indrajit joined in the same post at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital in June.

Further investigation is on to ascertain how rampant was the racket.

The racket came to light after the death of a 57-year-old branch manager of a nationalised bank, Bimal Sinha, due to COVID-19. They had provided a fake swab sample test report to Bimal.

Narrating the incident a police officer said that the victim went to a doctor in south Kolkata as he was suffering from fever and asked for some contact if his swab sample could be collected from home itself. The doctor had asked him to contact Patra at a diagnostic centre at Haridevpur. Patra provided him the phone number of Biswajit, who claimed himself to be attached with a laboratory on Prince Anwar Shah Road and sent Indrajit to Bimal's house.

He collected the swab sample on July 25 and took Rs 2,000. After two days, Biswajit informed Bimal that he tested negative. Bimal's daughter suspected foul play as there was no physically report available. At the same time Bimal's health also deterioraed. On being pressured by his daughter, Biswajit finally sent a fake report in her Whatsapp number.

She along with her mother took Bimal to a private hospital near South City and later to MR Bangur Hospital. Doctors at both the health establishments confirmed the report to be fake. Bimal later tested positive at MR Bangur Hospital.

A doctor at MR Bangur Hospital said that the test report was fake, as it had a handwritten specimen referral form (SRF) ID that had only nine digits. While an original report comes printed and consists of 13 digits.

The fake report led to delay in initiation treatment and despite all effort by doctors at the state-run hospital he died on July 30. His family members, subsequently, lodged a complaint with Netaji Nagar Police station.

Police arrested the trio and booked them on various charges of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for cheating by personation (419 IPC), Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property (420 IPC), Forgery of valuable security, will, etc (467 IPC), Forgery for purpose of cheating (468 IPC), forging document (471 IPC) and criminal conspiracy (IPC 120B). Police are looking into whether anyone more people are involved in the racket.

Biswajit and Indrajit had posed as employees of a diagnostic centre near South City Mall. However, investigation revealed that they were not at all attached to the same and the fake report was prepared without any valid stamp.

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