Mumbai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after raiding an unlicensed manufacturing unit at Mumbai’s Crawford market area on Wednesday busted a major cosmetics counterfeiting racket. The officials found at least four international cosmetics products Lakme, L’Oreal, Maybelline and Nivea were being processed.
FDA seized the cosmetics of Lakme, L’Oreal, Olay, Maybelline and Nivea worth Rs 2.30 crore. The unit was sending these product stores in Bhuleshwar, named Radhe Cosmetics.
Commissioner of FDA, Dr Harshadeep Kamble said, “These cosmetics could easily have reached high-end malls and caused serious skin damage. We acted on a tip off and found two truckloads of cosmetics.”
Officials found an ardent shopaholic was involved in these false cosmetic products, Pravin Dhillon who owned Krishna Cosmetics in Bhuleswar. Further investigation led the officials to Radhe Cosmetics in the same area and a godown full of spurious cosmetics.
Kamble added, “The set-up had the machinery to produce these fast moving consumer products that are now being tested in a lab at the FDA’s headquarters.”
On Wednesday, three teams of FDA drug inspectors first raided a fourth-floor room in the Crawford Market. There they found the manufacturing of a batch of Lakme and L’Oreal products was underway.
Joint Commissioner (Drugs) Vinita Thomas said the investigators found the finished products of Lakme 9 to 5, Lakme Matt Compact, Maybelline Babylips lip balm, L’Oreal Paris Fruit Banana Scrub and Matrix Biolage with the packaging material that was similar to the original brands.
The three accused, Pravin Dhillon, Mahesh Lalji Warchand and Mohammed Khatib Shaikh were booked under Section 27A of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 along with an FIR for unlicensed manufacturing, production and sale of spurious products.
Kamble said the accused will also be registered under section 420 for cheating as well as under other sections dealing with the Intellectual Property Laws.
The other products including Lakme Kajal, Lakme Absolute Liquid Liner, Olay cream, Revlon Touch and Glow powder, Nivea lip care, Blue Lens Fairness and Fair & Lovely were also seized.
The unlicensed manufacturing unit is owned by Mohammed Khatib Shaikh. Dhillon supplied the raw materials and Shaikh had allegedly procured high-end machinery to manufacture the cosmetics.
Now, the FDA is investigating the involvement of other people in the racket. It has sent all the samples for lab testing.