A viral audio clip claiming that a nexus of government officials and private doctors are fleecing people in the name of Coronavirus testing has been falsely attributed to Geeta Jain, a member of legislative assembly from Mira-Bhayander, Maharashtra.
BOOM contacted Jain who refuted the claims. We also found that police officials had on July 24 arrested the person who had recorded the audio. She was later released on bail.
In the nearly 2-minute-long audio, a woman can be heard propagating a conspiracy involving officials of Municipal Corporations, municipalities, private doctors and testing labs.
She says in Hindi, "Central government has assigned a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh to Municipal Corporations and Municipalities to be spent on every individual Corona patient. Therefore, Municipal Corporation, municipalities, private doctors and labs are focussing on how to get more number of positive tests. So they are forcefully admitting even those who are suffering from cough and cold and the moment the Rs 1.5 lakh is approved, the cold is cured and the patient is sent home. The only way to stop this monkey business is to stop going to doctors or testing labs."
The woman goes on to suggest home remedies for cough and cold. At no point in the audio clip does the woman reveal her identity.
The audio has been circulating with captions claiming that Geeta Jain is the person who had created and shared the audio. It's noteworthy that Jain herself tested positive for COVID-19 on July 1, 2020. Read about it here.
This message was earlier viral with a standalone audio file. The voice note is now circulating with a snapshot of Jain's Wikipedia page also.
BOOM also received the audio clip on its WhatsApp helpline for verification.
A Hindi page called Khaas Kalam shared the audio on Facebook with a Hindi caption stating 'An audio clip in the name of Thane district MLA Geeta Jain is viral on internet these days. We don't know whether this is true or not, we just want to show you this viral video'.
(Hindi: आजकल सोशल मीडिया पर महाराष्ट्र के ठाणे जिले की विधायक गीता जैन का यह ऑडियो वायरल हो रहा है इसमें कितनी सत्यता है यह सत्यता है इसकी पुष्टि हम नहीं करते हैं बस हमारा मकसद वायरल वीडियो की खबर दिखाना है।)
BOOM had contacted Geeta Jain earlier this month and confirmed that the voice in the audio clip is not hers.
Refuting the viral claims, Jain told BOOM that she had registered a case in Navghar Police Station regarding the clip. "Strict action will be taken against whoever is using my name for this audio," Jain said.
Jain also shared a video on Facebook where she had clarified that she did not record the audio and it was being falsely attributed to her.
BOOM also found news reports claiming that the police had made arrests in the case.
On July 24, police arrested Ranju Jha, a Goregaon resident and District President of Uttar Bhartiya Mahila Morcha, and Vice-president of Akhil Bihari manch Maharashtra. She, however, was released on bail by the court later.
BOOM contacted Navghar police station to get more details.
"We have seized her phone and seen all the WhatsApp groups she sent the audio on. She used to earlier stay in Mira Bhayander. We suspect another person who decided to share it as the MLA's name and are further investigating the case," Navghar Police Station in-charge Sambhatrao Patil told BOOM.
For verifying the claims about hospitals, labs and corporations diagnosing intentional false positives, we reached out to the civic officials who were unavailable for comment.
BOOM has earlier also debunked several theories claiming home made remedies are enough for defeating COVID-19. Read our fact checks on steam inhalation, and various mixtures of tea, coffee, kadhas and kashayams as quick fixes for COVID-19.
Updated On: 2020-07-26T16:54:53+05:30
Claim Review : Maharashtra MLA Geeta Jains audio clip claims hospitals, civic body corporations are diagnosing false positive cases of COVID-19
Claimed By : WhatsApp
Fact Check : False