Mumbai, April 8 (IANS) Continuing its crackdown against the smuggling mafia exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic, Mumbai Police's Crime Branch raided an illegal mask manufacturing unit in Agripada and seized over 57,000 3-ply facial masks, an official said here on Wednesday.
A team led by Kedari Pawar of the Crime Branch swooped on the illegal factory and arrested Miraj Sheikh, 32. He has been booked under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and the finished goods worth around Rs 1.70 million has been confiscated, besides a large quantity of raw materials.
According to investigations, the seized illegally-manufactured masks were part of a consignment of 200,000 masks intended for Bengaluru.
The police said that the raided unit, which was specialising in manufacture of bags and purses, diversified into facial masks to cash in on the present huge demand for masks.
Though the official price for such masks is Rs 10, in many areas the 3-ply masks are sold for anything between Rs 25-Rs 75 in the pandemic times.
The seizure assumes significance since the Maharashtra government on Wednesday ordered all people in Mumbai and Pune metropolitan regions to compulsorily wear either 3-play or home-made reusable facial masks whenever they step out anywhere for whatever reasons.
In the past couple of weeks, the Mumbai Police has seized millions of masks intended for sale in the black market at exorbitant rates, besides gloves and hand-sanitizers which are now in huge demand as Covid-19 cases soar in Maharashtra.