Mumbai

Lakhs of face masks, sanitisers seized in multiple raids in a day

10 arrested for raising prices of essentials during crisis

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch’s crackdown against black marketing in the time of COVID-19 continues, with three different units of the agency conducting raids in separate locations in Mumbai over the last 24 hours and seizing lakhs of face masks and hand sanitisers being hoarded and sold at enhanced prices.

In an order dated March 13, the State government brought masks and sanitisers under the ambit of essential commodities and capped their prices at ₹50 for 50ml of sanitiser, ₹8 for each two-ply mask and ₹10 for each three-ply mask.

According to officers, the first raid was conducted by Unit VIII at a medical store in Malad where, according to a tip-off, sanitisers and broad spectrum anti-microbial solution were being sold at enhanced rates. “We verified the information by sending a dummy customer, after which we raided the medical store. We seized 160 50-ml bottles of sanitiser being sold at ₹90 each, 175 100 ml bottles being sold at ₹175 and 279 bottles of anti-microbial solution being sold at ₹635,” an officer said.

The officer said the manager of the medical store, Bharat Dubaria (32), was arrested and is now being interrogated to find out how long he was running the racket and how many hand sanitisers he has sold so far.

Eventful 24 hours: (Clockwise from top) Officers from Unit X, XI and VIII of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch with the accused in all three cases.

Eventful 24 hours: (Clockwise from top) Officers from Unit X, XI and VIII of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch with the accused in all three cases.  

The second raid was conducted by the Unit X in Bainganwadi Govandi, where three-ply face masks were allegedly being sold at ₹25 apiece. “Acting on the information received, we raided the premises and seized two trucks full of ₹2.97 lakh worth of masks and arrested four accused from the spot. We are now finding out where they procured the face masks from. If the accused can have such a large quantity at retailer level, there is bound to be a much larger stash with the suppliers,” an officer said.

The accused have been identified as Hussain Niyazi (28), Khursheeda Shaikh (30), Shahid Kudus (25) and Vikas Parmar (30), while two others are still wanted in the case, officers said.

Lakhs of face masks, sanitisers seized in multiple raids in a day

Meanwhile, the third raid was conducted at three godowns in Dharavi by a team from the Crime Branch Unit XI in the early hours of Sunday. “We have seized 2,800 bottles of 100 ml and 420 bottles of 50 ml each of sanitisers worth ₹4.51 lakh and 1.51 lakh three-ply masks worth ₹22.74 lakh from the godowns,” an officer said.

Unit XI has arrested five accused in the case, identified as Adarsh Mishra (21), Shubham Tiwari (23), Ashraf Shaikh (50), Akhtar Faqoorui (48) and Yusuf Ansari (31). All the accused arrested in the three cases have been charged under the Essential Services Act, officer said.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 7:22:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/lakhs-of-face-masks-sanitisers-seized-in-multiple-raids-in-a-day/article31201973.ece

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