Police raids two factories and seizes 25 tonnes of fake cumin and black pepper
The Delhi Police has busted a gang of spice adulterators who were allegedly mixing stone powder, seera, and artificial colours into cumin and black pepper seeds and selling them in the market at cheap rates. The police raided two factories in Jindpur village in the outer northern district and seized 25 tonnes of fake spices and around 40 kg of raw material for preparing adulterated spices. The police also arrested the mastermind behind the racket, identified as Bagesh Gupta (38), who had shifted his base from Gujarat to Delhi two years ago to earn more profits.
The police said that they received a tip-off about the adulterated spices being circulated in the market ahead of the festive season. Based on this information, they intercepted a tempo carrying these fake spices to Khari Baoli, the biggest wholesale market of spices in Asia. The driver of the tempo, Gupta, was arrested and during interrogation, he revealed the location of his godown where he stored and processed the adulterated spices.
A team of food safety officials confirms the presence of harmful substances in the spices
The police then raided the godown and found a huge quantity of black pepper seeds, cumin seeds, bags of stone powder, an adulterating machine, a weighing machine, seera, and adulterated colours. The police also found that Gupta used to procure raw materials from Rajasthan and Kanpur and later sold these adulterated spices in Khari Baoli, Gujarat, Ghaziabad, and Uttar Pradesh.
The police then called a team of officials from the Department of Food Safety, Government of NCT, to check the quality of the spices. The team took samples from the seized spices and found them to be adulterated with harmful substances that could cause serious health hazards to consumers.
The accused confesses to running the racket for two years
The police registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Food Safety and Standards Act against Gupta and his associates. The police said that Gupta had confessed to running the racket for two years and had earned lakhs of rupees by duping customers. He also told the police that he used to sell these fake spices at half the price of the original ones.
The police said that they are investigating further to nab his accomplices and to find out the extent of his network. The police also appealed to the public to be vigilant while buying spices from the market and to check for any signs of adulteration such as colour, smell, texture, or taste.