Social media users have been sharing a picture of a man claiming that he is a lab technician from Mumbai named Abdul Khan. The claim suggests that he is informing Hindu customers with negative COVID-19 test reports that they tested positive. One Anil Kumar Mishra tweeted the photo crediting the news to Hindustan Times, “Mumbai lab technician Abdul Khan falsely telling COVID-19 negative Hindus that they tested positive for the virus, arrested – Hindustan Times. And some people will choose to ignore this.” It was retweeted by over 1,400 handles at the time of writing. (Archive link)

Several users have posted the picture with a communal claim. (Archive link)

The photo is viral on Facebook and Twitter.

Fact-check

The viral claim has taken two separate incidents and given them a false communal spin.

Viral image

A reverse image search was enough to establish that this picture is from an incident in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao. An assistant lab technician was arrested from the district hospital on charges of generating fake COVID-19 test reports. According to a News18 Hindi report dated December 16, 2020, Amar Bahadur Chaudhary was accused of issuing fake COVID-19 reports in exchange for money. He was subsequently arrested. The article reads, “According to sources, the individual caught on charges of producing fake COVID-19 reports used to send a different sample of a COVID-19 positive person for investigation, which led to the report being negative. He was reportedly receiving Rs 1,500 for each doctored report.”

Alt News reached out to Gaurav Kumar Tripathi, DSP of Unnao city, who informed, “One individual was arrested for issuing fake COVID-19 test reports. However, there is no communal angle to this case. Unlike suggested in the viral claim, this person was a Hindu.”

What is the case involving Abdul Khan?

Several news articles reported the arrest of a lab technician named Abdul Khan in Mumbai for issuing fake COVID-19 test reports. According to a Hindustan Times report dated March 8, 2021, Khan had issued a negative report for a 71-year-old man who had the virus.

He used to run a pathology lab in the Shivaji Nagar area of ​​Govandi, which collected samples of people with symptoms of the coronavirus. These samples were sent to another facility for investigation. The incident came to light in October when Khan generated false negative reports for a senior citizen. The patient got tested in another lab where the result turned out to be positive. Police said that Khan had duped at least seven to eight people by giving them false reports without even conducting the test.

Shivaji Nagar’s senior inspector Kishore Vishwanath told Alt News that the investigation is ongoing and Khan was arrested on charges of faking COVID-19 test reports. “He used to declare patients negative without testing them however there is no communal angle to incident,” he said.

The arrest of a lab technician named Abdul Khan in Mumbai for issuing fake COVID-19 test reports was given a false communal spin. Another technician Amar Bahadur Chaudhary was misidentified as Khan. Chaudhary was arrested in Unnao in December 2020 for a similar offense.

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