Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday said that the alleged COVID-19 testing scam during Haridwar Mahakumbh earlier this year is not just a case of negligence but a serious crime and an impartial investigation should be conducted in this matter.
"This (the COVID-19 testing scam) is a serious crime, not negligence. A stringent action should be taken and an impartial investigation should be conducted in this matter," Rawat told ANI.
Rawat added that the said scam also involved an economic offense, which is a punishable offense.
The Uttarakhand government on Wednesday ordered Haridwar district administration to register an FIR in the alleged COVID testing scam during the Mahakumbh.
State government spokesperson Subodh Uniyal told ANI that an order has been issued to file a case against labs from Delhi and Haryana, which conducted Covid testing at five places in Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela.
This action comes days after reports of fake COVID-19 tests during Mahakumbh surfaced. It was reported that at least 1 lakh COVID-19 reports of tests conducted during Kumbh Mela have been found to be fake.
The Maha Kumbh Mela was held from April 1 to 30 this year and was spread over Haridwar district and Rishikesh region, which includes Rishikesh in Dehradun district, Muni ki Reti in Tehri and Swargashram in Pauri.
Addressing the issue of COVID vaccine hesitancy, the former Chief Minister said: "It has been proved that COVID vaccine is not harmful, yet if some people are living in superstition and believing rumours, they should be made more aware and explained the benefits of the vaccine."
Responding to a query on the vaccine hesitancy in the Muslim community, he said that a large section of the Muslim community is showing reluctance and not coming forward for receiving vaccine jabs.
"It is not that the whole community is not taking the vaccine, but reports are coming from the field that a large section of the community is not coming forward for it. Those who are social workers of Muslim society should explain and inform about the vaccine to such people," Rawat added.