• Lab technician tricked a 24-year-old woman into giving a vaginal swab
  • The crime came to light after the victim relayed the incident to her brother
  • The lab technician was found guilty and faces 10 years in prison

A lab technician who tricked a woman into believing the COVID-19 test needed a vaginal swab has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. The man faced rape charges for his crime.

The incident occurred in July 2020 in the Indian state of Maharashtra, reported News 18. The 24-year-old victim, an employee at a mall in Amravati, was asked by her employer to undergo a COVID test after her colleague tested positive for the virus.

As per the instruction, the woman reached a trauma care center in the town of Badnera, along with her colleagues. She underwent a throat swab test, which according to the lab technician, was "positive." The technician, identified as Alpesh Deshmukh, then convinced her to undergo a vaginal swab test.

When the woman asked if a female lab technician would be taking the swab, Deshmukh responded by saying he was the only one available. The woman went in for the "test" at his private lab when he committed the crime. He later informed her that her results were negative, added reports.

However, the woman grew suspicious of the man and relayed the incident to her brother. They consulted a doctor who confirmed there was no such test needed for COVID-19. For COVID tests, swab samples are taken only from a person’s nose and throat.

Following this, the woman filed a complaint with the Badnera police station. The man was booked for rape and molestation after a primary investigation.

The incident triggered an uproar in the state. The state's Health Minister took serious note of the incident and promised strict against the culprit.

Deshmukh was soon arrested, and the trial began at a local court 17 months after the incident happened.

The court heard 12 witnesses concerning the case before pronouncing the accused guilty for rape and assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty.

A similar case was registered in 2021 in India wherein an ambulance driver from the southern state of Karnataka was arrested for allegedly raping a COVID-positive woman. Police said the driver, identified as Pinto, raped the woman inside the COVID ward of the hospital. However, the woman woke up when Pinto tried to remove her urine bag.

A health worker collects a  sample to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Representation. A health worker collects a sample to test for COVID-19. AFP / Ishara S. KODIKARA