Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], June 19 (ANI): Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Saturday demanded a judicial inquiry in an alleged COVID-19 testing scam during the Maha Kumbh Mela, which came to light recently.
Speaking to ANI, Trivendra Rawat said: "The Chief Minister (Tirath Singh Rawat) has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), but a judicial inquiry is necessary in this matter because it is an interstate matter. People can doubt whether the inquiry will be accurate or not."On June 15, upon being questioned on the issue, the Joint Health secretary of the Union Health Ministry Lav Agarwal had said that a detailed report on fake COVID tests conducted during Kumbh Mela is expected in a few days.
The former Chief Minister added that he had asked for a judicial inquiry as it will be more credible. "I am not against the special investigation team (SIT) but it is a question of public perception. People have more faith in the court. In this year's Kumbh mela, people from all over the world came to Haridwar. In such a situation, it would be better if a trusted investigative agency probes the matter."
On Thursday, state Chief Minister Tirath Rawat had remarked that the matter (COVID testing scam) was from the time before he took charge as the CM.
"This matter is from the time before I took charge as the CM. As soon as I took charge, I ordered an inquiry into it. A probe is underway, strict action will be taken against those found guilty," he said.
On being asked that CM Tirath Rawat has said that this testing scam dates back to before his term, Trivendra said that now the investigation has started into this matter and everything will come to the fore.
The former Chief Minister alleged that the RT-PCR testing scam is not just an economic scam, it is a crime and corruption. He said that during the pandemic, negative certificates were given falsely without investigation, which comes under the category of federal crime.
He added that who was involved in this fake testing scam will be revealed post-investigation.
On the other hand, State Congress President Pritam Singh said: "The Maha Kumbh was organised in the state of Uttarakhand and it is a great festival not only in the country but in the world. It is disturbing to know that the RT-PCR testing scam has surfaced in the state."
Cornering the BJP government over rift between Tirath Rawat and Trivendra Rawat, he said: "The government in the state belongs to the BJP. Who is the Chief Minister or who is not, it is their internal matter. But at present the former Chief Minister says that it should be investigated."
Kumbh Mela took place in Haridwar and the Uttarakhand government had hired private labs for conducting COVID-19 tests during Mahakumbh.
The government has ordered an inquiry against all the private labs doing rapid antigen tests after discrepancies were found in COVID-19 testing data during Mahakumbh earlier this year.
State government spokesperson Subodh 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. (ANI)