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Congress demands probe into fudged COVID-19 data

Addressing a press conference, Congress general secretary Ajay Maken cited a report by The New York Times, which quoted former scientists of the ICMR alleging political interference in providing data on COVID-19 and related deaths   | Photo Credit: PTI

Accusing the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) of “criminal culpability” in trying to fudge India’s COVID-19 data to spin a “false narrative” in favour of the Narendra Modi government, the Congress on September 16 demanded a criminal investigation against the Prime Minister, former Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, and senior officials of the ICMR.

Addressing a press conference, Congress general secretary Ajay Maken cited a report by The New York Times, which quoted former scientists of the ICMR alleging political interference in providing data on COVID-19 and related deaths.

 

Calling it a “very, very serious issue”, Mr. Maken said there should be a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court.

“We are demanding that a criminal investigation be carried out against the Prime Minister, against the former Health Minister and against senior officials of the ICMR...there should be a criminal investigation under court supervision by a sitting judge as this is not a small matter,” he told reporters.

Mr. Maken said the former ICMR scientists had themselves come out openly now to allege that a “false narrative” was built only to show that “everything is normal”.

“We feel that it was because of this reason that the guard was lowered and State governments were unprepared, and so was the general public, because of which there were large numbers of avoidable deaths during the second wave of the coronavirus [pandemic] that caused so much devastation,” he said.

“We could have saved so many lives had the false narrative not started and hence it requires a criminal investigation,” he added.

The Congress leader also said that the party would plan agitations around the issue as well as raise it strongly in the next session of Parliament.

Rejecting the media report, Niti Aayog Member (Health) V.K. Paul described it as an “out of context report that is not desirable”, while ICMR chief Balram Bhargava said the report was “provocative and attention seeking that doesn’t merit any attention”.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 5:31:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-demands-probe-into-fudged-covid-19-data/article36503448.ece

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