The Kandivali police have arrested five persons in the wee hours of Friday on charges of selling smuggled and duplicate Malboro cigarettes. Those arrested are owners of tobacco selling shops in the areas of Borivali, Kandivali and Malad.
The raids were carried on the basis of information provided by the investigating staff from EIPR India Limited Company.
According to Sudam Shinde, Senior Police Inspector, Kandivali police station, the officers of Switzerland based company Philips and Moris manufacturing branded Malboro cigarettes and EIPR, an agency, which specialises in anti-counterfeiting solutions of goods and products, approached the police on Friday after conducting tests of cigarettes from various retail shops around the city and lodged a complaint against the five stores in the area. These stores were suspected to sell and also counterfeit the cigarettes.
The police along with the agents of EIPR raided the retail shops zeroed by them and arrested the owners of the stores.
The arrested have been identified as Manoj Kumar Lalji Navik (26), the owner of Lovely Pan center in Kandivali, Jassu Maganlal Patel (65), owner of Patel Tobacco stores in Kandivali, Mohammad Azhar Khan (37), owner of Kandivali Suparies stores, Atul Sahani (50) owner of Atul Suparies in Borivali and Pankaj Amrytlal Shah (35), owner of Ashok Tobacco in Borivali.
"The sale of imported Malboro cigarettes in India is illegal. The five persons have been arrested for selling the brand, the EIPR have also tested the cigarettes in these shops and they have found out that the cigarettes sold there were duplicate," said Shinde. He added: "We have seized cigarettes cartons worth Rs 16,500 from these shops. We also suspect that the sellers were not only mixing cigarettes of a cheaper brand but also manufacturing counterfeit packets of Malboro so perfect that a layman cannot distinguish between the two."
He said that although in this raid the police have seized small quantities of counterfeit cigarettes but they are on the look out for retail stores in other areas which sell Malboro cigarettes and other fake products. The five persons have been arrested under sections 103 and 104 of the Trade Mark Act 1999.
They were produced before a local court and released on bail of Rs 2000 each.
"We suspect that the main dealer of these cigarettes is based in Manish Market and our investigations are moving in that direction," added Shinde.
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