Five employees of a medical diagnostics laboratory were arrested for allegedly giving out fake Covid test reports, Delhi Police said on Friday. According to Atul Kumar Thakur, deputy commissioner of police (south), the arrested suspects handed out 400 such fake reports — both positive and negative — since April 23.
The company, Genestrings Diagnostic Centre, said that the reports were not generated by the lab, and added that they informed police about the wrongdoing of their employees as soon as they noticed it. The company stressed that while some of their staff were involved in the crime, the laboratory had no role to play. It added that all authentic reports have QR codes, which can be easily be used to distinguish them from the fake reports that were being handed out.
Police said the probe started after 45 members of a large, extended family in south Delhi’s Khirki Extension said they received false results from Genestrings Diagnostic Centre in Sarvodaya Enclave.
The family members was reportedly tested by two technicians of the lab over a few days, and some of them were declared positive for Covid-19, said DCP Thakur. One of them, Rishab Shukla, said he was given a positive result on Monday. “But Shukla didn’t have any symptoms, and decided to get himself tested at another lab again on Wednesday. This time his result was negative,” said the DCP.
Shukla then went to Genestrings Diagnostics, and was shocked to learn that his name was not in their records, and that his sample had never reached them.
He contacted the police, which registered a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy at Malviya Nagar police station. The five people arrested are application scientist Manish Kumar Singh, his two colleagues Satender and Nikhil, and two lab assistants, Pragyanand Sharma and Himanshu Sharma.
Police said that initially the technicians planned to have doctors test the samples, and share the results without entering the details in the laboratory’s records. They would use the lab’s letterhead to print out a the report, and pocket the money paid by clients of for the tests.
“But as the load of the samples increased, the suspects began dishing out fake results without even testing them,” the DCP said.
“On being approached by a few patients to authenticate reports bearing our lab’s name, we found out that they were not issued by us, nor tested at our lab. We immediately called the local police station in-charge to investigate what seemed to be a fake report issue,” said Chetan Kohli, COO of Genestrings Diagnostic Centre.
“Five of our employees were identified to be a party to this crime without the knowledge of lab management or the lab head,” he added. “All our reports have QR codes which can be easily used to check the authenticity of reports.”