Beware, its fake!
Glossed in finesse and appearing all too real, local markets across India, particularly in Delhi, are rampantly selling counterfeit products made using substandard material that pose a serious threat to well-being
If you think the beauty products being sold freely in markets are safe for your skin or the water you are drinking from a sealed bottle is healthy, you must think twice. Today, our city markets are flooded with products that appear all too real but carefully conceal side-effects that are deeply detrimental to the body.
Counterfeit products are becoming a serious problem in Delhi. According to Delhi Police investigators, with an organised modus operandi, anti-social elements are reaching out to different shopkeepers, enticing them to buy fake products. They lure shopkeepers on the pretext of the profit which can be earned from selling fake products.
Imagine the risks when a shopkeeper dupes a man by selling him a fake clutch cable and later, that person meets with an accident as the unauthentic cable will surely tear apart while stopping the motorcycle. This is just one example of how fake products risk people's lives. In the city, regular raids are being conducted to break the nexus of counterfeit products.
City of Fakes
In January, Delhi Police arrested four accused involved in selling fake vehicle products by misusing the name of prominent companies of Central Delhi. The accused were booked under the Trade Marks Act. According to the complainant, during a market survey, he found that some retailers, suppliers and manufacturers deliberately indulge themselves in the selling and distribution of counterfeit products of three major motorcycle companies.
On September 10, 2018, Delhi Police recovered fake Bisleri jars containing water. At the insistence of the complainant, officials of Dwarka District conducted raids at various shops. The first was situated in Som Bazar Road, Raja Puri and from there, four jars of 20-litre spurious Bisleri water, 120 number of Bisleri caps, one heat gun, one blue colour handle were recovered. Another raid conducted in Viswas Park, Uttam Nagar, New Delhi, led to the recovery of 10 jars of 20 litre of spurious Bisleri water.
Last year, from Central Delhi, the city police busted a gang for cheating people in the name of curing incurable diseases. The accused would deploy their agents at prestigious hospitals in Delhi and swindle families of patients suffering from terminal illnesses such as cancer and HIV AIDS, on the pretext of curing these incurable diseases.
In March this year, staff from Jyoti Nagar police station conducted a raid at a sewage pumping house near Loni Road, New Delhi, and recovered a carton full of several counterfeit HP products that included printer toners and cartridges, among other things.
In June, North Delhi Police arrested two persons, Arun and Mohammad Murtaza, with more than 500 fake watches and their parts in Chandni Chowk market. The investigating agency revealed that they were earning profits by selling counterfeit watches after convincing customers that they wouldn't get original watches at such low prices. In another case, North Delhi Police arrested one person and recovered fake ghee cartons from the Lahori Gate area.
Last year, four shopkeepers were arrested by the joint team of District Investigation Unit (DIU), North District and Sadar Bazar police station who busted a gang of shopkeepers indulging in the selling of counterfeit beauty products supposed to be manufactured by Lakme and Nivea. A massive amount of counterfeit cosmetic products had been recovered from their possession.
Crime Branch also arrested a person involved in pirating fake books. The accused was nabbed from his printing unit located in Gazipur village. The investigating agency recovered a total of more than 3,000 finished copies of 9th and 10th standard Hindi, English, and Mathematics textbooks; nearly 700 unfinished copies of 9th standard Hindi and History books; several printing plates and reel papers with the publisher's watermark.
Delhi Police data accessed by Millennium Post shows that 151 cases under Copyright Act were reported in 2017, while last year, 174 cases were registered in different districts to Delhi Police. In the current year up to March, more than 40 cases have been registered.
Investigation of Authenticity
An investigator said, in many cases, the probe has revealed that kingpins involved in manufacturing do not disclose their identity. "Their associates will visit various markets to identify the shopkeepers who are interested in buying counterfeit products" the investigator added.
The official further stated that once the shopkeepers are identified and the fake product orders are placed, the middleman delivers the goods. The investigation also revealed that for the delivery of fake products, perpetrators adopted the break journey technique. "To reach the destination (shopkeepers), the middlemen used different vehicles to dodge the police," added the investigator.
Citing an example of how fake products are prepared, investigators further said that to produce duplicate hair oil, the accused manufactured bottles and filled low-quality oil inside it. Ingredients were mixed in the oil to ensure that the fragrance replicates that of the original oil.
Investigators also suspect that the accused mostly counterfeit those companies' products which are not based in India. Delhi Police recently nabbed two men for selling fake watches. The probe in the case revealed that the accused targeted tourists who visited the market. They would lure customers by saying that they sell luxury branded watches at reduced prices. "The accused said that they bought watches with the golden wrist belt for Rs 60 and later sold them for Rs 1,000-1,200 to tourists. While other designer watches would cost them Rs 150-200," added the investigator.
North district, which is headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Nupur Prasad, has nabbed several persons involved in these illegal activities. DIU north, under ACP Ram Mehar, has also conducted timely raids across different places and recovered several fake products including beauty creams, watches.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said that in order to curb the menace they conduct raids on the basis of credible information. "We also inform people and shopkeepers regarding fake products," said the DCP Central. Last year, DIU Central under ACP Har Mohan Singh Chauhan received more than 100 complaints against the selling of fake products.
"More than 50 raids were conducted and counterfeit products were recovered," said an officer adding that in many occasions, complaints were withdrawn or the complainant was not able to complete the series of documents required for police action against fake products.
To check the sale of fake products, various companies have authorised experts who have the knowledge to check counterfeit products and conduct market
surveys. "During the survey, when an expert found fake products being sold, s/he filed a police complaint. After proper investigation, raids were conducted at the spot where we also took the experts to identify the fake products," added the officer.
During the raids, they try to reach out to manufacturing units so that the whole chain of fake products supply can be busted, added another officer.
While shopping, one can find clothes with branded tags in local markets. Although it cannot be verified whether the clothes are from original brands or counterfeit materials, for customers, it is a delight to purchase clothes at the cheapest prices.
In a market of New Delhi, a shopkeeper was shouting, "Big brother you will not get branded clothes at such less price." Meanwhile, a customer came to purchase a shirt which the shopkeeper priced at more than Rs 1,000 – but the customer managed to buy it for Rs 400 after bargaining. "Brother you will not get such a branded shirt for just Rs 1,000 anywhere" he repeated, but the customer remained adamant to pay Rs 400 and when he (customer) started leaving, the shopkeeper called him back and sold the shirt for Rs 400.
An officer also said that the popular automobile counterfeit products like the logo and other items are sold by shopkeepers and from time-to-time, the police conducts raids to curb the menace.