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PMC to probe illegal sale of Covid kits by civic hospital

As police and Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) health department employees have raised questions over alleged antigen test kit irregularities during the Covid-19 pandemic, additional municipal commissioner Ravindra Binwade has asked the health department to submit a comprehensive report within 10 days.

There have been allegations that during the pandemic, around 11,000 bogus patients were registered for antigen tests at the PMC-run Arvind Bartakke clinic at Warje. A primary investigation by Warje Malwadi police station estimated that ₹33 lakh were siphoned off from this corruption.

Health officer Dr Satish Kolsure, who was previously associated with Bartakke hospital during the pandemic, had filed the complaint for the same and raised various objections and alleged that by registering bogus patients, these test kits were illegally sold at private labs and hospitals.

After the complaint was submitted, police carried out an initial probe and found that many patients who were tested are bogus. Police called some of the patients which are registered with PMC for testing.

Later the cops sent a letter to PMC and asked to launch an investigation into this matter.

Reacting to the same, Binwade said, “I was not aware of all these developments. But after some media reports regarding the case, I’ve asked the health department to do a detailed inquiry and submit the report within ten days.”

Dr Kolsure in his complaint alleged that around 60 per cent kits of the 18,500 Covid testing Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits at Bartakke hospital’s swab centre were sold in the private market by registering over 11,000 bogus patients.

Dr Kolsure, medical officer of the Bartakke hospital at that time, lodged the complaint regarding this alleged scam to the health department and other 32 concerned establishments.

Shocking revelations
To prevent SMS intimation to the patients, it was alleged that the centre’s doctors and staff registered their own phone numbers against the names of these patients.

During the investigation, Warje Police tried to contact 165 of them randomly. Out of that, only 18 confirmed their tests. 37 could not be contacted, while nine patients did not pick up the phone. Police have assumed that RATs of these 64 people are done, and on basis of investigation, they’ve concluded that 101 bogus patients were registered.

Dr Kolsure informed that the RAT kits were sold in the range of ₹2500 to ₹5,000.

“The alleged fraud is of over ₹80 lakh. Even Warje Police have investigated the matter and concluded that fraud has happened,” said Dr Kolsure.

Dr Ashish Bharati, health chief at PMC said that the case is being investigated.

“I cannot comment on this matter. The information will be sent to authorities after the investigation. I have no involvement in this matter,” Dr Bharti said. Hindustan Times

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