‘Kill’ people for Covid compensation: Scam unearthed in India
Ambulance staff carry the body of a person who died from coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi, India, on May 21, 2021. (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA’S Covid tragedy has become a money-making scheme for some local officials who have wrongly declared people to have died from the disease and allegedly pocketed compensation of £2,000.
The suspected scam has forced 23 people from Borkhedi village in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to prove that they are alive. According to a report in The Guardian, the officials falsely recorded their deaths allegedly to collect the money per person that their families were entitled to as compensation.
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Saurav Suman, a district collector, told the news outlet that the village council elder, who has the authority to issue birth and death certificates, is allegedly in league with two or three other persons and they have all been arrested.
According to Suman, the incident was an “aberration” but acknowledged that the faking of the documents was a common way for some to make money.
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Earlier this year, a number of laboratories were found to have carried out fake Covid testing of more than 100,000 pilgrims for the mammoth Kumbh Mela festival in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, which proved to be a super spreader.
This week, a court in Haridwar issued non-bailable warrants against three in connection with that scam.
India’s current Covid death toll officially stands at over 439,000, the third highest after the US (640,000-plus) and Brazil (580,000-plus).
India also has the second-highest number of cases at 32.8 million, next to the US with 39.2 million.
However, India has greatly accelerated its vaccination drive with more than 660 million doses administered so far.