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The Uttarakhand government has ordered an inquiry into the operations of all private labs conducting rapid antigen tests after discrepancies were found in the Haridwar Mahakumbh testing data.

The government had hired private labs for conducting Covid-19 tests during Mahakumbh.

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, one of the nine labs handling testing for the religious festival was found to have allegedly issued fake test reports for at least 50,000 samples.

This was revealed after a preliminary probe by the state’s chief controlling officer (CCO) of Covid-19 Dr Abhishek Tripathi.

The COO investigated the matter when the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) received a complaint from a person who had attended the Mahakumbh.

"The complainant had claimed before the ICMR that when he went to attend the Mahakumbh, he had received an SMS that his samples have been collected for the test along with a proper valid id number. However, he gave no samples," an official was quoted as saying by HT.

Tripathi then found out that at least 50,000 results from the one lakh tests conducted are fake.

"The probe was ordered after the state’s Covid CCO in his report to state health secretary confirmed the irregularities in about one lakh Covid-19 tests conducted by the laboratory in question," said state government spokesperson Subodh Uniyal.

He also informed that the laboratory in question has been “blacklisted."

Uniyal said that orders have been issued to the director-general of health in this regard and all districts have been asked to investigate Covid-19 testing labs properly before making any payment.

An official spokesman said that before making the payment, the lab would be asked from where and how many test kits they have bought. The lab would also be asked to present proof for this so that any kind of discrepancies can come forward.

On the other hand, Haridwar District Magistrate C Ravishankar has formed a three-member inquiry committee to investigate the labs after cases of discrepancies in devotees and locals were witnessed during Kumbh.

The committee will submit the investigation report to the District Magistrate in 15 days.

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