Four people were arrested after a fake hand-sanitiser and face-mask manufacturing company was busted in Noida on Saturday, officials said, a day after the Centre declared the two items as 'essential commodities'.
The Noida police, SDM and the Drug department raided the factory earlier on Saturday and it was sealed after investigation. Sub-divisional magistrate Rajeev Rai said after a tip-off around 2.30 pm, a raid was carried out immediately at the company in the commercial hub of Sector 63.
"Four people have been arrested from the spot. Over 5,000 face masks and around 5,000 bottles of hand sanitisers have been seized," Rai, who led the raid, told PTI. "Both the items bore the label name 'SG Group' and are pegged worth around Rs 10 lakh but are not genuine products."
He said a detailed assessment of the seized material was underway. Pharmacists and traders had earlier claimed shortage of supply of hand sanitizers and masks in Noida and Greater Noida amid fears over the deadly COVID-19, while some people rued that these items were being sold at exorbitant rates, if available.
The Centre had on Friday brought masks and hand sanitizers under the Essential Commodities Act up to June 30 as the novel coronavirus pandemic led to shortages and black marketing of these items.
The decision has empowered the Centre as well states to regulate the production, quality, and distributions of masks and hand sanitisers, as well as smoothen the sale and availability of these items, and carry out operations against speculators.
An offender under the Act may be punished with imprisonment up to seven years or fine or both and can be detained for a maximum of six months.