The Mumbai Crime Branch’s Unit III has arrested a resident of Govandi for selling fake N-95 masks under a brand name called Venus and seized 18,000 masks worth ₹27 lakh from him.

The accused, Riyas Ahmad Raes Ahmad Khan (36), dealt in women’s footwear in Govandi till a few months ago. When the lockdown took a toll on his business, he ventured into selling N-95 masks, the police said.

Based on a tip-off, Unit III personnel contacted the accused and posed as customers. They struck a deal for 18,000 N-95 masks of Venus company, and the order was to be collected near Baneshwar Temple at Sasmira Road in Worli on Thursday.

Police inspector Ashok Khot said, “The accused rented a tempo and brought the masks to Worli. When he reached the spot, we nabbed him and seized the masks. We called the officials from Venus company, who came and verified that the masks were not manufactured by them. They also confirmed that the masks were of low quality and posed a risk to users.” The filter quality used by the company was also different from the one found in the fake masks.

The police are now trying to find out how the accused obtained the masks. “We are yet to know who manufactured those masks as he was just a wholesaler and did not have a manufacturing unit. He used to take only bulk orders. We are also finding out how many people have bought the masks and if any hospitals have received orders from him,” a Crime Branch officer said.

The accused has been charged under Sections 420 and 336 of the Indian Penal Code and relevant provisions of the Copyright Act and the Trade Marks Act.

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