A private diagnostic laboratory in Kakurgachi area in north Kolkata, West Bengal has been sealed and the owner has been arrested for conducting coronavirus tests without the required authorisation from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Ratan Lal Gupta, the owner of Tribeni Clinic, at P-323 CIT Road, was booked for cheating, dishonestly inducing delivery of property and criminal conspiracy. He has also been booked under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act, 2017, the officer said. The state government has also slapped a fine of Rs 10 lakhs on the ground that it was conducting Covid-19 tests without approval.
It is pertinent to note that no diagnostic laboratory in India can conduct the test for detecting coronavirus infection without ICMR’s approval.
“We have arrested the owner of Tribeni Clinic,” said Ajoy Prasad, the deputy commissioner of the eastern suburban division of Calcutta police.
According to Zee 24 Ghanta, the lab was not only conducting coronavirus tests without required approvals but was also giving incorrect coronavirus report. The patient which the lab-confirmed coronavirus negative, after conducting the test on him, appeared to be positive when his results were sent to the authorised lab of Kolkata Medical College.
West Bengal health department issues statement
On Tuesday evening the health department stated, “Following a complaint from a member of the public that M/s. Tribeni Clinics, a Diagnostic Laboratory was conducting swab sample tests for Covid-19 unauthorisedly, an enquiry was conducted by this department. The enquiry has revealed that the said diagnostic laboratory did not have ICMR’s approval and was, hence, found to be conducting tests for Covid-19 illegally.”
Taking a serious view of the matter, the State Government has ordered the immediate closure/sealing of M/s. Tribeni Clinics, P-323, C.I.T. Road, Scheme VI M, Kankurgachi, Kolkata, 700054, along with a fine of Rs 10 lakh under the relevant section of the West Bengal Clinical Establishment (Registration, Regulation & Transparency) Act, 2017. An FIR has also been registered in the Phoolbagan Police Station for taking action under the Criminal Law.”
IMCT observes High Mortality Rate
The Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) had expressed concerns over the “extremely high mortality rate” of coronavirus in the State of West Bengal, besides highlighting the lack of transparent and consistent reporting of the pandemic.
Slamming the State Government, the IMCT chief Apurva Chandra had stated that 105 people have lost their lives to the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic out of 816 reported cases in West Bengal. As such, the Mamata Banerjee-led-State accounts for the highest mortality rate (12.8%) in the country.
West Bengal sitting on a “time-bomb”: Health experts
The allegations of suppression of facts and fudging of data has become a major worry for authorities and health experts in West Bengal, which has now snowballed into a huge controversy between the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government and health-care experts.
The health-care experts believe that the situation in Bengal is very grave as the Mamata Banerjee-led government has not been giving real data to assess the actual seriousness of the pandemic. From threats to doctors for whistleblowing against the state government against lack of facilities to allegations of state government illegally disposing of dead bodies, there have been serious allegations against the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal.