Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and rise in the demand of sanitisers in the market, the Food and Drugs Administration has, so far, registered eight FIRs against individuals and firms over fake sanitisers and overpricing.
The FIRs have been registered for cheating under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Disaster Management Act, the Essential Commodities Act and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act in different cases. Two FIRs each in Gurugram, Faridabad and Hisar, and one each in Ambala and Kaithal has been registered.
A chargesheet has also been submitted in an Ambala case, where an FIR dated March 19 was registered against Jai Chandra for cheating under the IPC for manufacturing and sale of spurious and misbranded sanitisers.
“During a raid on his factory,” as per the FIR, “huge quantity of three types of hand sanitisers, printed labels, two filling machines, one electric liquid filling and one manual liquid filling was found installed”.
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Since the matter of fake sanitisers and overpricing has reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the states of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh have to submit action taken reports by July 6.
“We have registered eight FIRs so far. As many as 248 samples of hand sanitisers have been taken. The sample test reports are awaited,” said Dr Ashok Kumar Meena, Commissioner, Food and Drugs Administration.
In June alone, the FDA has registered four FIRs. At Kaithal, on June 2, an FIR was registered against Kishore Kumar for cheating and forgery under the IPC, the Disaster Management Act and relevant sections of the Drugs Cosmetic Act.
He was using an address of Japan on his product ‘Bestime Hand Sanitiser’. The accused was himself manufacturing the hand sanitiser by mixing ingredients in plastic drums.
“The sanitiser was being prepared under extremely unhygienic conditions. Flies and mosquito were in abundance at the place of manufacturing,” said the FIR. The building used for manufacturing had no measures to avoid the risk of contamination from the external environment, including open sewage, drain, public lavatory.
On June 2, a case was also registered for cheating under the IPC for overpricing under the Essential Commodities Act and the Disaster Management Act against four people.
Hiten Pravin Shah, MD, and Bhowli Nhil Shah, director, Raman Weil Private Limited, were booked while Bharat Bhushan Malhotra, who was a wholesale dealer in Rohtak, and Manoj Kumar, who was a retailer in Hisar, were also named in the FIR.
The Daman-based firm manufactured product ‘Bactorub Blue (Alcohol Rub in Hand Disinfectant)’ after obtaining a license under the Medical Device Rule, wherein they could be permitted to manufacture a disinfectant for medical devices only.
The product was also selling at MRP of Rs 630 per 500 ml bottle even though the Central Government had fixed the price of hand sanitisers at Rs 250 for 500 ml bottle. A sanitiser unit was busted in Faridabad on June 19, where Raj Kumar and Sukhdev Singh were booked for cheating under the IPC and relevant sections of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act.
Here, the accused were manufacturing products in the name of other firms. They were manufacturing hand sanitisers in unsanitary conditions. Here, one accused is under judicial custody while another is yet to be arrested.
In another case, Bansi Lal Enterprises, a retail shop, was booked on June 20 in Gurugram for cheating under the IPC and overpricing under the Essential Commodities Act. The FDA team had raided the shop after receiving a complaint at the twitter handle of Gurugram DC.
Also, 248 samples of hand sanitisers have been taken, the lab reports of which are awaited.