The Uttarakhand High court on Tuesday refused to grant interim relief to Sharat Pant and Mallika Pant, the two co-owners of Max Corporate Services, in the Covid-19 testing fraud that occurred during the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. On Tuesday, Sharat and Mallika appealed for a stay on the arrest orders and also sought relief from being charged under Section 467. The counsel for the accused claimed in the High Court that it’s illogical to accuse them just because they did not conduct any tests; rather all data entry and testing was done by local government health officials. The duo told the court that they were mere mediators between the government and labs. However, the court refused to grant them interim relief.
The court had earlier asked the State government to reveal the names of the parties between whom the MoU was signed for Covid-19 testing. In response, the government had said that an MoU was signed between Max Corporate Service and the government. It was found later that Max did not have the required registration or authorization to carry out tests. They snagged the deal with help from their partners Lalchandani and Nalwa laboratories.
The government informed the court that the accused fudged the real number of tests carried out by them on the government website. They put up registration and identification numbers of the people, who had not even travelled to Haridwar for the Kumbh Mela. Along with the owners of Max, Navtej Nalwa, the owner of Nalwa Lab, is also accused in the fake testing case. However, Nalwa Lab has filed a petition in the court, demanding the FIR against them to be quashed stating that they had no role in the fake testing scam.
In the investigation conducted as per the High Court orders, it was found that there were multiple tests registered on the same mobile number. After the scam came to light, Haridwar CMO filed a case on June 17. The accused Mallika Pant, Sharat Pant and Nalwa Lab have filed a petition in the High Court demanding a stay on the arrest.