Mumbai: Bloodsucker of Sion now conning people with fake COVID-19 test?

Updated: Jun 05, 2020, 07:45 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Dharavi man exposed by mid-day for taking blood samples of patients Sion hospital in January isnow accused of duping suspected COVID-19 patients with fake tests

Abdul Gafar Kadar Sheikh, the accused
Abdul Gafar Kadar Sheikh, the accused

Notorious fraudster who preys on the unwell has struck again, this time as a health worker who comes home to collect nasal swabs for a COVID-19 test. A 39-year-old woman from Tardeo got her 67-year-old mother tested for COVID-19 through the accused 'health worker' Abdul Gafar Kadar Sheikh, only Continued from page 01

Meher Lamberaj, 39, said that Sheikh came to her home on May 31 to take her mother, Nisha Khan's, 67, throat swab for a COVID-19 test. Said Lamberaj, "My mother was feeling a little unwell since the past few days. I wanted to get her admitted to a hospital, but facilities insist on a COVID-19 test report prior to admitting. I learnt that Sheikh is attached to Galaxy Multispecialty Hospital, Antop Hill, Wadala East and comes home to take a swab and conduct the test."
Lamberaj added, "My maternal uncle Yakhub Khan had been unwell a fortnight ago and had called Sheikh home for a COVID-19 test. He had tested negative. It was through my uncle — who lives in Shahu Nagar, Mahim, that Sheikh, who lives in Dharavi, called me and then came home."

No swab

Lamberaj added that Sheikh, "Came to my home, wearing a PPE suit. He was accompanied by one Vivek whom he introduced as an 'area manager'. He showed me a card of Galaxy Multispecialty Hospital, gave me a Thyrocare form to fill, took a swab and said the results will be known within 48 hours. He asked for Rs 6,000 as the test fees and I paid him in cash. I did not ask for a receipt as he came through a contact."

Abdul Gafar Kadar Sheikh, the accused
Abdul Gafar Kadar Sheikh, the accused

Lamberaj said she tried to contact him for results, "But he kept fobbing me off. In desperation, I called Thyrocare and gave them details like my mother's name and asked for the report. I was shocked when they told me that no swab had come in. Then, on a hunch, I asked the laboratory about my uncle's report, which Sheikh had delivered to him in a Galaxy Multispecialty Hospital envelope, which was negative. I showed them the report on WhatsApp and they said the bar code was wrong. The lab said the negative report belonged to one Mr. Fakhruddin and was not of any Yakhub Khan."

Been duped

That is when Lamberaj realised that this man is a fraud. "I filed an FIR with Tardeo police on June 2. I called Galaxy Multispecialty Hospital and spoke to one Umesh Gaikwad who said Sheikh had been fired two days ago. Yet, they should have done a background check before hiring him. mid-day has a report on his criminal behaviour. This is extremely dangerous, we wonder how many people he has duped with forged reports. Also, he lives in Dharavi which has so many cases," Lamberaj said.

What hospital says

A Thyrocare representative, A Salvi said, "Thyrocare has absolutely no connection with this person and he has no connection with our laboratory."

Meher Lamberaj and her mother, Nisha Khan
Meher Lamberaj and her mother, Nisha Khan

Gaikwad, the operations in-charge at Galaxy Multispecialty Hospital, said, "Sheikh was a qualified technician. He worked with us for only 20 days. We fired him seven days ago. People should go through proper channels for COVID-19 tests. A COVID-19 test is only done when the doctor concerned prescribes it. Private test charges are R4,500. We are aware of the FIR against him, and we do not know what people do outside the hospital. We hear that he had taken a person called Vivek with him. Vivek is a vada pav vendor. We did not know his history when he was employed. He was sent by somebody."

Vivek D said, "I am a vada pav vendor operating opposite Sion hospital. Sheikh asked me to take him to Tardeo in a car. I do not know anything else." Sheikh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

The previous case

Sheikh is the same man who in an inebriated state in January, drew blood from a Sion hospital patient and demanded R800 right away from the family. After Sheikh tried to dupe the family, the Shirkes at Sion hospital, the patient's wife became suspicious and realised Sheikh was intoxicated. Sheikh neither a doctor nor an employee of Sion hospital. After mid-day published a report on January 2, a probe was launched about the security situation and other realise that the test was fake.

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