A private hospital was sealed and its license was suspended in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut after a video showing its staff providing fake COVID-19 reports went viral on social media.
In the video, a staff member can be seen telling the relative of a patient that the hospital can provide a negative report for Rs 2,500. The video also shows clients giving Rs 2,000 to one of the staff and promising to pay Rs 500 when they get the results of the coronavirus test.
Following the incident, Meerut Chief Medical Officer Rajkumar Saini ordered an investigation on July 4. The facility was identified as the New Meerut Hospital on Hapur Road. However, the document submitted to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister's Office bore the stamp of the government-run Pyarelal District Hospital.
"A man from the hospital can be heard saying that he can arrange a corona negative report and the patient can get his operation [for another ailment] done. We have identified the man and a first information report has been registered." Rajkumar Saini confirmed.
An FIR was registered against Shah Alam, the owner of New Meerut Hospital, at the Lisadi Gate police station by Deputy CMO Gopal Singh on Saturday.
"From the video, it has emerged that the hospital's manager, Shah Alam, is promising people a fake Covid-19 negative report in exchange for money," The Indian Express quoted Saini as saying.
"I am not aware of any such report doing the rounds in Meerut. We do collect samples for the coronavirus test with genuine IDs and then sent the same to the Meerut medical college because we do not have the equipment and the expertise to test the same at our hospital," Dr P K Bansal, superintendent of the Pyarelal district hospital said.
However, Alam has denied the charges and said that the video is fake and has been released to malign his and the hospital's image. "I am innocent and the inquiry will prove that," claimed Shah Alam.
Meerut District Magistrate Anil Dhingra said the license of the hospital has been suspended, and the place has been sealed. Anil Nausran, secretary of the Indian Medical Association's Meerut unit was of the opinion that the government should close hospitals and nursing homes in the district being run by persons with no medical degree.
An investigation into the case is underway, though no arrests have been made so far. Meerut has reported a total of 1,117 cases so far, out of which 69 died and 772 recovered. While UP has recorded a total of 28,061 cases including 785 deaths and 18,761 recoveries.