The Uttarakhand government has directed the Haridwar district administration to register a case against private laboratories accused of conducting fake Covid tests during the Kumbh Mela. The private laboratories, mainly based in Delhi and Haryana, were engaged by the state government to conduct tests during the Kumbh Mela, one of the world's largest religious gatherings, from April 1 to 30.
A special investigation team has been set up to look into the case.
"Uttarakhand government has ordered the Haridwar district administration to register FIR in Covid testing scam during Mahakumbh. Order issued to file a case against labs from Delhi and Haryana, which conducted testing at 5 places in Haridwar during Kumbh Mela," state government's spokesperson Subodh Uniyal told news agency ANI.
Last week, the Haridwar district administration ordered a probe after reports emerged that over one lakh fake tests were conducted during the religious gatherings.
According to reports, the labs apparently did so to meet the daily testing quota of 50,000 tests set by Uttarakhand High Court.
Payment to all labs which had been assigned the responsibility of conducting tests -- RT-PCR and rapid antigen -- during the Kumbh has been withheld for the time being due to the ongoing investigation, Haridwar District Magistrate C Ravishankar had said at the time.
Twenty-two private labs had been hired to conduct testing during the festival.
Kumbh Mela, which is attended by people from different parts of the country in large numbers, was held as the number of COVID-19 cases rose at a rapid pace.
At least 70 lakh devotees are believed to have participated in the religious gathering held in Haridwar.
About 2,600 devotees tested positive out of the nearly two lakh tests conducted by medical personnel during the religious gathering, according to news agency PTI.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)