A three-member Special Investigation Team will probe the alleged COVID-19 testing scam by a private lab in Amritsar, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Sunday.
The Chief Minister announced this during his "AskCaptain" Facebook Live session in which he warned that his government will not allow private hospitals or laboratories to profiteer from this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis facing humanity.
Mr Singh said he had received a complaint against the private lab and had asked the Vigilance Bureau to look into the matter. But when initial investigation showed that there was no involvement of any government department or officer, the case was transferred to the Punjab Police, he said.
The three-member SIT will be headed by the police commissioner of Amritsar, who is a doctor, Singh said, adding that among its members will be a civil surgeon.
Mr Singh said that he has ordered the SIT to conduct a thorough investigation and submit its findings soon so that suitable action can be taken.
Besides from the fact that the Vigilance Bureau had, prima facie, not found any complicity of any government department or official in the case, the lab itself had moved the court challenging the bureau's jurisdiction, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office later said.
The government deemed it fit to transfer the case to the Punjab Police to ensure that no legal hurdle is posed later, he said.
The Chief Minister has also taken strong exception to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Majithia's attempts to "politicise" the simple jurisdictional decision of transferring the probe to the district police, the spokesperson said.
Mr Majithia on Saturday had demanded an independent inquiry by a central agency or a sitting judge of the high court into the "fake COVD-19 reports" scam by the private testing lab in Amritsar.
Mr Singh said that rather than raising such a "nonsensical" issue and weakening the morale of the police, Mr Majitha should invest his time and energy in pressuring the SAD's political masters in Delhi to put a stop on the Central Bureau of Investigation's "interference" in the Punjab Police's probe into the Bargari and other sacrilege cases, and the subsequent policing firing incidents.