Coronavirus Outbreak: Illegal trading of masks, hand sanitisers surge as positive cases on the rise

Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 09:37 | Sherlin Rajan
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    The Unit VII of the Mumbai Crime Branch and personnel from the state Food and Drug Administration raided a sanitiser manufacturing unit in Saki Naka area of Mumbai  on March 31 and seized stock and raw materials worth Rs 22.13 lakh, an official said, adding that it was carried out on Synergy Hygienic Corporation. 

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    An official said that 1,632 numbers of 500ml bottles and 360 numbers of 5-litre cans of O-Shine sanitisers and raw materials, all worth Rs 22.13 lakh was seized in the raid. The firm's owner, Dilip Chanria who was arrested in the raid, had no licence to manufacture the product but was doing so to make profits due to the high demand following the outbreak of the pandemic.

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    In another case, the Charkop police arrested two people and seized 9,800 bottles of fake hand sanitisers worth Rs 10.5 lakh from Sector 3, on March 30. According to the police, the accused have been identified as Jagdish Keshbhai Bhamania, 30, and Rajesh Narsingh Chaudhary. 

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    A special DCP squad raided Bhamania’s house and seized the fake sanitiser. The police received a tip off that the accused were mixing spirit with some other solution and taking orders from retailers. Bhamania and Chaudhary were booked under relevant sections of the Essential Commodities Act. 

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    Unit VI of the Mumbai crime branch arrested three people and seized 5,000 hand sanitiser bottles worth Rs 2.5 lakh from Mahim on March 28. According to crime branch officials, the accused were involved in black marketing and hoarded the hand sanitisers at the flat. The crime branch received a tip-off and raided the flat. They said the sanitisers belong to a company named ‘Hiketo Gel’. Police said while the price of a sanitiser was Rs 50, the accused were selling it at Rs 65 to Rs 100 per bottle. 

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    The Unit 9 of Mumbai Crime branch located at Bandra (West) seized facemasks worth Rs 14 crore on March 24 and arrested four persons. The accused have been identified as Mihir Patel, 36, Shahrukh Sheikh, 23, Balaji Naur, 36, and Gulam Ali, 30. 

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    Param Bir Singh, the Commissioner of Police, received information about the stock of huge quantity of masks, which includes 2.75 lakh N95 masks.

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    Based on the tip off, Mahesh Desai, senior police inspector of crime branch, Unit 09, laid a trap. DCP Akbar Pathan, Crime Branch, said, the two of the consignments of huge quantity of masks were stocked inside warehouse of city Cargo complex and one in Bhiwandi godown. (Representational picture)

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    The masks were brought near Sahar airport and four have been arrested under relevant sections of the Essential Commodities Act with 25 lakh pieces of masks, which includes 2.75 lakh pieces of N-95 masks. The Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh then said, "We are having heavy shortage of these masks across Maharashtra. This seizure will fulfil the requirement of the city and state as well." 

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    The FDA received information on March 18 that a company named Siddhivinayak Dyecam Private Limited in Nahur Industrial estate, Mulund (W), was making these sanitizers despite not having the licence for it. Joint Commissioner DR Gahane with 10 other officers raided the premises and found material that is used to make sanitisers, along with some packaged ones. (Picture/Anurag Kamble)

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    On March 11, an FDA team, inspecting medical stores in suburban Kandivli, found a person selling hand sanitisers manufactured without licence to a shop owner. They took him to the supplier in Kandivli, where they recovered sanitiser stock worth Rs 1.5 lakh. 

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    The FDA officials also raided a distributor of medical products and seized substandard sanitisers worth Rs 1.72 lakh. These sanitisers were being manufactured at units not possessing valid licence and sold to medical shops without proper bills and documents.
    FDA officials also raided a clutch of such dubious manufacturing units in Vakola, Kandivli Charkop. (Picture/ AFP)

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    Bengaluru Central Crime Branch on March 31 seized as many as 1,000 fake N95 masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, the police have not yet made any arrests in the case (Picture/ANI-Twitter)

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    The Bengaluru Central Crime Branch raided and seized another cluster of  12,000 fake N95 masks from a godown on March 31. The police informed that the accused made masks from a normal cloth and were selling it at the same price in the market as that of N95 masks. (Picture/AFP)

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    According to the police, the accused are manufacturing sanitisers with available material in their house and supplying into the market without prior permission from the concerned departments. (Representational picture)

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About The Gallery

With the coronavirus outbreak wrecking havoc and killing many across the globe, cases of life-saving essentials such as masks and hand sanitisers being illegally hoarded and sold in black are surging in India. Here are some shocking cases reported from different parts of the city.