Private lab in Kerala's Malappuram issues fake COVID-19 negative certificates and fraudulently earns Rs 45 lakh Credit: Representational image

In a horrifying development, a private lab in Kerala issued fake COVID-19 negative reports and also amassed huge wealth through this fraudulent means, said reports.

The fraud was reported from the Valanchhery area of Malappuram district. It is also alleged that the private lab earned Rs 45 lakh just by issuing fake certificates.

According to a report in a leading news daily, of the total 2,500 swab samples taken by the Arma laboratory, only 496 samples were actually sent to the parent lab in Kozhikode for testing.

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The private lab is a franchise of Kozhikode-based laboratory and was also approved by the ICMR for COVID-19 testing. Valenchery police believe that the lab issued fake certificates for those whose samples were not sent for testing.

Meanwhile, the Dubai aviation authorities informed that they would reject RT-PCR certificates which were issued by Kozhikode lab. This resulted in at least 200 people being unable to fly from Calicut and Kannur Airport to Dubai.

Yet another violation by the labs has now come to light and it is that the lab was not authorised to collect samples and send it to Kozhikode based lab for testing. Additionally, the lab had also destroyed samples for which the COVID-19 negative certificates were issued.

Inspector MK Shaji from Valanchery police station said that they have seized the computers from Arma lab after receiving complaints about the issue of fake coronavirus testing certificates. Upon investigation police officials have found that all data for the computers have been deleted.

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He added, “We were able to retrieve the data with the help of cyber cell and came to know the lab collected 2,500 samples. When we checked with the Kozhikode based lab, they said the lab received only 496 samples. We also came to know that Arma lab officials issued fake COVID-19 negative certificates from untested sample.”

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