The tussle between the importers and distributors over the Covid-19 test kits has led to Delhi High Court and ultimately led to the exposé of the scam in the purchase by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under the Union Health Ministry (UHM). Delhi High Court’s Judgment on April 24 by Justice Najmi Waziri has exposed the heartless corruption in inflating the price of the COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits imported from China. This is a clear scam that deserves a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) engineered by uncouth officials in the ICMR under the UHM by inflating the price (around 145%) during the pandemic.
The scam explained in a nutshell exposed due to the trade dispute in Court
The ICMR fixes the price of Rs.600 plus GST for the COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits, which is imported from China. Chennai based company Matix Labs Pvt Ltd imports Test Kits from China at a rate of just Rs.220. The total cost is Rs.245 only after adding freight costs. The Directors of this Chennai based firm incorporated in January 2014 are Suresh, Sayed Ahmed, Revannath Bhujangrao Patil, and Kulandaivel Padmanathan.
The ICMR engages Rare Metabolics Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, a firm at Dwarka in Delhi to supply five lakh test kits for Rs.600 +GST. Rare Metabolics engages Importer Matrix Labs to supply and enters into an exclusive deal. As per the exclusive deal, Rare Metabolics will be the exclusive distributor of the test kits in India imported by Matix labs from China. What a super deal! Chennai firm will import for Rs.245 and supply to Rare Metabolics which will supply to ICMR for Rs.600. The order given by ICMR to Rare Metabolics was to supply five lakh kits for Rs.30 crores.
Rare Metabolics Directors are Kripa Gupta Shanker and Shoba Data. Kripa Gupta Shanker is a qualified Doctor in his mid-30s who turned into a medical equipment supplier. The trade disputes started due to the delay in importing from China. According to experts, the actual price of the test kit is only around Rs.150, which is supplied by importer Matrix Labs to Rare Metabolics at Rs.245, which in turn sells to ICMR to Rs.600.
ICMR placed deal to Rare Metabolics on March 27 and only 2.24 lakh kits arrived from China through Matix Labs. The Judgment of the Delhi High Court shows that ICMR’s total purchase would increase to 10 lakh kits. This means the Order value was about Rs.60 crores and Judgment also shows that GST charges will be met by ICMR. But the delay in supply from China started a tussle between the importer and Rare Metabolics and it went to the peak when the Chennai based importer Matrix Labs directly dealt with Tamil Nadu’s Government’s supplier at ICMR approved rate of Rs.600 per kit.
Tamil Nadu Government engaged Shan Biotech and Diagnostics to supply 50,000 test kits and they also approached Matix Labs. Shan Biotech is a Chennai-based sole proprietary firm at Kodambakkam run by Manickal Sivakumar. Rare Metabolics approached Delhi High Court to restrain Matrix Labs from dealing with other parties claiming their exclusivity and now got exposed.
Now the Delhi High Court ordered that Rare Metabolics who earned huge profits by no value addition in the import of test kits must supply to ICMR or any private firm for only Rs.400 inclusive of GST. The six pages Judgment of the Delhi High Court which exposes the mindset of Indian officials and uncouth traders are published below.
Now the question is the role of ICMR officials under the Union Health Ministry. Why did they fix the rate of a test kit to Rs.600 when it was easily available in China for around Rs.150? The ICMR officials can easily get the exact price from India’s Embassy in China or the Commerce Ministry can help them in getting a price from China. Why then did ICMR engage Rare Metabolics when Indian firm Matrix Labs imports from China for Rs.240 with their profit margin and freight cost?
This shows that some heartless uncouth officials tried to get kickbacks from emergency import of COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits. These crooks must be probed and jailed for this uncouth activity during the Corona Crisis. This is not only unethical but also immoral and cruel. Heads must roll on this corrupt activity.
The Delhi High Court’s six-page Judgment exposing the Covid-19 test kits purchase scam is published below:
 Massive 145% profiteering exposed in coronavirus rapid test kits sold to ICMR – Apr 27, 2020, Business Today