Pune, March 27, 2020: The sleuths from the Crime Branch unit 1 of Pune city police raided a godown yesterday and seized 17,805 facemasks worth Rs 4.3 lakhs.
DCP (Crime) Bachchan Singh said that two persons have been arrested as they were selling masks at higher rates than prescribed. An FIR has been registered with Samarth police station against them for offences under relevant sections of the Essential Commodities Act.
According to police, the godown of Home Link Enterprises is located in Pavitra Enclave opposite Ladkat petrol pump near Narpitgir chowk in Somwar Peth. The owner of the godown Bhupesh Gupta and office boy Rohan Shukla has been arrested for black marketing. The seized masks included N-90, three layer handmade and machine made masks.
Senior Police Inspector Arun Waikar of Crime Branch is further investigating the case.
In view the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) and concern of the logistics for COVID-19 management particularly during last couple of weeks and that masks (2 ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitizers have been noted to be either not available with most of the vendors in the market or are available with great difficulty at exorbitant prices, Central Government has notified an Order under the Essential Commodities Act to declare these items as Essential Commodities up to 30th June, 2020 by amending the Schedule of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
It has also issued an advisory under the Legal Metrology Act. Under the E.C Act, after discussions with the manufacturers, States can ask them to enhance their production capacity of these items, to make the supply chain smooth, while under the L.M. Act the States can ensure sale of both the items at MRP.
The decision would empower the Government and States/UTs to regulate production, quality, distribution etc. of masks (2 ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitizers and to smoothen the sale and availability of these items and carry out operations against orders speculators etc. and those involved in over pricing, blackmarketing etc. It will enhance the availability of both the items to the general people at reasonable prices or under MRP.