2 PHC staff caught on camera putting unused swabs in lab-bound vials
BBMP suspends duo as well as Kodigehalli PHC medical officer
FIR against duo; cops checking if 4 others heard on camera were complicit in scam
In an incident that has sparked outrage among citizens, especially netizens, and cast doubts over the stepped-up testing claims of the authorities, two BBMP contract workers at a Primary Health Centre in Kodigehalli were seen on camera manipulating swab collection for Covid tests. The duo were summarily suspended on Saturday. The medical officer attached to the PHC, Dr Premanand, has also been suspended by the civic agency.
According to the cops, the duo were putting swabs in containers to be sent to labs without actually taking any nasal or oral samples from people. An ‘explanation’ doing the rounds is that they were resorting to the malpractice in a bid to meet the hiked testing targets for the city. A Twitter video of the two manipulating the entire process has sparked widespread outrage, with many questioning the very authenticity of BBMP’s testing procedure.
The duo, who had been attached to the PHC for the past 10 months, apparently resorted to the malpractice at a time when the PHC in-charge, Dr Premanand, had stepped out. BBMP has suspended the duo, identified as Nagaraj and Hemanth, and has lodged a complaint with the Kodigehalli police station. “We have filed an FIR against them for providing false information and for criminal breach of trust,” said a police officer.
According to the police, the duo were caught on a mobile phone camera putting random swab testing sticks into vials without taking any actual samples. Four others, whose complicity in the scam is being investigated, can be heard talking in the background. They have been identified as ASHA workers Kusuma, Prema and Padma, and a staff member, Ashok.