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Coronavirus | FIR against Himachal Pradesh’s chemist for selling N95 masks at higher rates

A boy wears a mask at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. File

A boy wears a mask at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Kangra District Controller of Food and Civil Supplies Narinder Dhiman told the PTI that the FIR was lodged after the chemist had been found selling N95 masks at ₹500 each against its fixed selling price of ₹115.50.

A chemist was booked for selling N95 masks at over four times higher than the fixed price in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, police said on Saturday.

 

A First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against the owner of a medical store located at Dr.Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (RPGMC), Tanda, under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act at Kangra police station on a complaint by the district Food and Civil Supplies Department, they added.

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in IndiaState Helpline numbers |

Additional Station House Officer (SHO) of Kangra police station Jasbir Singh told the PTI on Saturday that the FIR had been lodged against the pharmacy owner Rakesh Vohra.

However, Mr. Singh said the accused had not been arrested so far as the matter was being investigated. If the allegations are proved against him in the court, he may be jailed up to five years under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, the police officer added.

Kangra District Controller of Food and Civil Supplies Narinder Dhiman told the PTI that the FIR was lodged after the chemist had been found selling N95 masks at ₹500 each against its fixed selling price of ₹115.50.

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The Department had received complaints from the public against the chemist selling masks at higher rates, he added.

Subsequently, Mr. Dhiman sent two inspectors of the Food and Civil Supplies Department under the guise of customers to collect the evidence. The inspectors were also quoted ₹500 for each mask by the pharmacy, he added.

At this, Mr. Dhiman accompanied by a team raided the shop and seized the chemist’s stock of 100 black-coloured- and 15 N95 masks.

According to a recent notification under clause 3(1)(d) of the Himachal Pradesh Hoarding and Profiteering Prevention Order 1977 issued by Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati, a wholesaler may charge maximum 5% and a retailer may charge 10% margin of profit on selling 2 ply/3ply surgical masks and N95 masks.

District Controller Dhiman said the chemist had purchased N95 masks at ₹105 each as per the billing and was supposed to sell it at ₹115.50 with a maximum 10% margin of profit as per the notification but he was found selling it at ₹500.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 3:49:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/fir-against-himachal-pradeshs-chemist-for-selling-n95-masks-at-higher-rates/article31127832.ece

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