The owner of a food store in South Delhi’s Kalkaji market who was caught selling bird feed as lentils to his customers was sentenced to 4 years in jail by a city court.
While sending the accused SR Verma to jail, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Gaurav Rao said he “could not be allowed to play with the life and health of innocent customers.” The court also imposed a fine of `50,000 on Verma, who was taken into custody as soon as the order on sentence was pronounced.
According to the prosecution, Verma was duping his customers into buying bird feed disguised as pulses or dal.
His scam was found on February 11, 2002, when food inspectors CB Boora and AK Dhir visited his shop in DDA Central Market, Kalkaji – one of the Capital’s busiest markets – in order to conduct a routine check on the wares he was selling.
After testing the sample procured from Verma’s shop, it was discovered that the pulses being sold were not fit for human consumption.
During trial, Verma pleaded innocence by way of ignorance. He tried to shift the blame and said he was simply selling on pulses bought from another person. He had no idea it was bird feed, he claimed.
However, investigators found Verma’s buying bills and proved that “the dal he used to sell to the customers was meant only for consumption by birds and animals.”
“This act of the accused is unpardonable, and shocked the conscience of this court,” said the judge while passing his order.