The accused S Irfan Khan was secured from his house in Triplicane and an investigation revealed that the certificates were prepared by one Praveen in Dubai. “The duo has issued about 70 fake certificates in the last few months,” said inspector Rajkumar of North Beach police station, who arrested Irfan Khan.
While the duo issued the certificates in the name of an existing medical lab in Mannadi, the fraud came to light after the owner of the lab came across the WhatsApp message in the lab’s name that the Covid certificate will be issued within 30 minutes of sending the passport copy on WhatsApp.
Harish Parvesh of KHM Medical Centre, who was shocked to find his lab’s name being misused, initially thought that his staff members could be behind the fraud. To confirm that the WhatsApp forward message was valid, he sent a friend’s passport copy to the phone number given in the message and paid Rs 500 on GPay. To his shock, he received a COVID negative certificate on WhatsApp in another 30 minutes. He immediately complained to the North Beach police after which Inspector Rajkumar launched a hunt for the suspect and secured Irfan Khan from Triplicane.
“They just changed the personal details, while the sign and seal remained the same in all the certificates. Irfan Khan, who would receive the details from people would send it to Praveen, who would prepare the certificate and send it to Irfan Khan,” said police.
Police said Irfan Khan himself travelled from Dubai to Chennai once with such a certificate given by Praveen and they became partners in crime since then.