Capacity Building Programme for State Excise Officials on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling
The magnitude of the problem of counterfeiting, smuggling and piracy is widespread which demands emphasis and priority of enforcement agencies. Capacity building is an ongoing exercise that plays an instrumental role in motivating and enabling the law enforcement strategies to understand the gravity of the problem and take requisite actions against the perpetrators.
It is with the above background that FICCI CASCADE is organizing a capacity building programme for the excise officials of Odisha to sensitize the officers on the socio-economic impact of illicit and spurious sales, facilitate better engagement from the industry to support the officers in preventing this menace.Lear More
Webinar on Policies and Strategies to Prevent Counterfeiting and Smuggling- Be Vocal for Local and Prevent Illicit Trade
Illegal trade in counterfeited and smuggled goods dampens the economy in multidimensional ways. It can cost any economy billions of dollars, funds organized crime, and damages the country’s international reputation. It destabilizes the legal industry, restrains innovation and investments, reduces government revenues and hampers the health and safety of the consumers. This threat has been on the rise since the onslaught of the pandemic which hit the world in 2020. On one hand while the government, voluntary organisations and the corporate sector are working relentlessly to fight and contain the pandemic, on the other, those involved in illegal activities such as counterfeiting, smuggling, black marketing etc. are taking advantage to exploit the miseries of the teeming millions by dealing in spurious and duplicate healthcare and consumer essentials.
The current environment most certainly presented a new opportunity for all stakeholders to tackle this long-standing problem. It is in this background that FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE), organized a webinar on “Policies and Strategies to Prevent Counterfeiting and Smuggling” on 9th July 2021 focusing on Jammu and Kashmir.
Shri Ranjan Prakash Thakur, IRTS, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Govt of Jammu and Kashmir was the Chief Guest at the programme. Mr. Thakur in his keynote address said, “Illicit trade is a grave concern, it undermines the nation’s economy, affects the health of the citizens and needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. Adequate priority needs to be placed across the government department in J&K, be it enforcement, training, or consumer awareness in addressing this issue”.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE in his welcome address said, “illicit products have infiltrated everyday avenues of commerce, making their way into supply chains and consumers’ homes, thereby threatening manufacturers’ competitiveness, undermining consumer confidence and posing a threat to individuals’ health and safety”. Congratulating the work of the enforcement authorities, he said, “while smugglers and counterfeiters are exploiting the current situation by supplying illicit alternative of products, the alert enforcement authorities in J&K have uncovered and arrested people engaged in illicit trade of liquor, cigarettes, currency, drugs, sanitizers and much more”.
Speaking on specific issues in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Irfan Ahmed Guju, Chairman, FICCI J&K State Council and MD I A Multi Venture Pvt Ltd said,” Counterfeiting and smuggling are lucrative business that take advantage of unwitting consumers and simply exploits their financial position. An orchestrated strategy including communication, coordination and close cooperation amongst various government agencies, law enforcement officials and private sector to combat this menace is imperative.”
A panel comprising of representatives on government representatives and industry deliberated on the problem areas and possible solutions to mitigate this challenge. Mr. Mohd Akbar, Joint Director, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs was of the opinion that large scale consumer awareness through the help of print and electronic media needs to be created which will sensitize the public on this menace. Ms. Irfana Ahmed, Deputy Drug Controller, Kashmir shared the various initiatives of the department to thwart the danger of availability of spurious drugs and stated that in last few years, almost 23 drugs were found to be spurious in the UT and 70-80 percent cases were prosecuted. Mr. Laeeq Ahmad, Deputy Director Prosecution, Crime Headquarters, Jammu & Kashmir Police highlighted that during the year 2020, they have seized around 3 lakh 87 thousand intoxicated capsules, fake injections and syrups. Moreover, in the year 2018, 2019 & 2020, 15, 24 & 26 cases were also registered under the copyright act at various police stations of Jammu & Kashmir UT. Mr. Arun Gupta, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu urged that the enforcement agencies and government policies are further strengthened which will instill fear and deter the illicit operators to undertake such criminal activities. He also spoke on the need of adequate steps to check the sales of spurious and counterfeit products on e-commerce platforms.
Mr. Rajesh Sharma, Co – Chair, FICCI J&K State Council, CEO Skipper Overseas Ltd in his concluding remarks said, “while, arresting this menace is vital, encouraging the use of indigenous goods will also play a defining role to eliminate this socio-economic threat. Not only it will benefit Indian economy, reduce the demand of imported goods and avoid dumping of cheap products, it will also create jobs and deter cross border illicit trade”.
As cases related to smuggling and counterfeiting rise steeply during the past few months, thus webinar was organized to discuss actionable, innovative solutions and strategies for curbing this menace. This initiative is a part of a series of such interactions which are being organized by FICCI CASCADE, across the country to highlight the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling and elicit response from different states.
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FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) organised a webinar on ‘Consumer Protection in the COVID Age’ on the occasion of World Anti-Counterfeiting Day on 8th June 2021. This day enables national and international organizations involved in the fight against counterfeit products to increase consumer awareness of the risks and costs associated with buying fakes, and to encourage consumers to better understand the seriousness of the problem.
Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE welcomed all the participants and stated, “the Covid-19 virus and illicit trade have a lot in common, both cause immense economic, social and individual distress.” Applauding the enforcement officers who have relentlessly pursued the smugglers and counterfeiters; and seized many contraband and fake products during the current crisis, Mr Rajput urged them to keep up the good work which would ensure that the perpetrators of crime did not see the covid-19 situation as a reason to exploit vulnerable consumers and organizations.
Mr Hem Kumar Pande, Former Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, GoI chaired the session and observed that consumer awareness has become an important part of the anti-counterfeiting strategy in developed economies. On the flipside, in developing countries, it is still a major challenge. “The ‘Jaago Grahak Jaago’ campaign of the Indian Government has received reasonable success with urban consumers looking out for the safety and genuineness of the product. But we still have a long way to go to inculcate and develop a sense of responsibility amongst the rural consumer base”, he added.
Mr Shibesh Singh, Additional Commissioner (Crime), Delhi Police said, “there has been a significant rise of frauds against public during the second wave of the coronavirus”. During the recent wave of the pandemic, he said, the Delhi police were able to block almost 550 fraud bank accounts, seized more than 1.25 crore rupees, and suspended almost 1500 sim cards. Highlighting the problem of black marketing and selling of counterfeit, fake, spurious covid cure products, Mr Singh said, “with the help of local enforcement agencies, Delhi police arrested more than 300 black marketeers and broke the backbone of COVID related crime syndicate”.
Emphasizing the unwavering efforts of the DRI officers during the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, Mr Rajesh Pandey, Principal Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence said, “during the pandemic year, DRI has seized 984 Kgs of gold & illicit cigarette sticks worth more than Rs. 100 crores along with seizures a large amount of heroin, cocaine, hashish, opium, and synthetic drugs.” He added that the Covid 19 pandemic impacted manufacturing and trade, and the gap was filled with counterfeit and smuggled products. Hence, law enforcement and trade & industry must work more closely so that illicit activities can be neutralised to a great extent.
Commemorating this year’s World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, the FICCI CASCADE’s webinar marks a crucial milestone to further discuss how amid the COVID emergency, counterfeiting has changed over the past months, while looking at the anti-illicit efforts that are needed in the coming days. Industry panellists from Amazon, Johnson and Johnson and Underwriters Laboratories agreed that the ultimate goal should be to identify and sever illicit products and their sellers before they have a chance to create a negative experience for our consumers. Amazon, for example, have blocked 10 billion suspected sellers and seized more than 2 million products.
Moreover, it was agreed that a co-ordinated action is the need of the hour as no single company or sector can fight counterfeiting alone. While legitimate manufacturers hold the information necessary to distinguish their products from the fakes in the market, E-commerce platforms have information about the third-party sellers dealing in fake products. Likewise, search providers have a broad view of how actors can move across different platforms, while payment providers are a critical part in tracing illicit gains to counterfeiters and cutting off their access. Input from each of these sources is necessary to allow both the government and private sector to have full insight into the paths of counterfeit and smuggled goods; and to track those who are responsible.Lear More
In Conversation with Shri Rakesh Asthana, IPS, Director General, Border Security Force and Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau
“Smuggling activities generate large amount of money and the money generated is further funnelled into various anti-social activities in our country”, said Mr. Rakesh Asthana, Director General, Border Security Force and Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau. Mr Asthana was speaking at the ‘In Conversation Series’ an initiative of FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) to share insights and deepen understanding on the various facets of illicit trade with subject matter experts. Speaking on the menace of drug smuggling, Mr Asthana said, “according to a recent survey by Govt. of India, it is found that nearly 2.1% of the Indian population is addicted to heroin, and 1.44 lakh crore of illicit revenue is generated every year through it”. He further added that in 2019, the MHA has constituted a 4 tier coordinated mechanism which is a robust system of inter-agency coordination led by DG, Narcotics Control Bureau to address the menace of smuggling.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE in his address said, “In India, since the onset of the pandemic, our paramilitary forces and enforcement agencies have raided and seized smuggled, spurious and counterfeit sanitizers, masks, PPE Kits, toiletries and cosmetics, electronic goods, cigarettes, packaged food, spices, drugs, alcohol and several other items across various states”. Speaking on the increasing number of seizures being reported every day, Mr Rajput said, “it is highly possible that the total seizures may just be the tip of the iceberg of a much larger network. We cannot afford to lower our guard and therefore it is extremely important that our enforcement agencies keep up their already impressive work and ensure that such mischievous elements are kept at bay”.
Mr. Anil Sinha, Former Director, CBI and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE while in conversation with Mr Asthana said, “On one hand, we have a raging pandemic where criminals have used it as an opportunity to increase their nefarious activities, causing significant damage on the economy of the nation, health, and safety of the consumers while on the other hand there is smuggling and how it is funding and terrorism and undermining the security of a nation”. Strengthening of inter-agency coordination and the need for successful prosecution of criminals in smuggling and counterfeiting cases were also highlighted in his discussion with Mr. Asthana.
Border forces face key challenges in preventing illicit trade and disrupting transnational smuggling operations. It is certain that border officers are critical stakeholders in combating cross border illegal trading activities. As border control becomes challenging due to newer forms of cross border crimes it becomes vital that officers at the borders are prepared to identify possible suspects and their victims in such crimes. FICCI CASCADE, has been over the years working closely with government, industry, enforcement officials, legal fraternity, consumer organizations and the youth to create awareness on the adverse impact of the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling. Among other activities, FICCI CASCADE has been regularly engaging with law enforcement agencies including police, customs and paramilitary organizations engaged in border protection in sensitizing them on the gravity of the problem.
Watch the session live at: https://youtu.be/ZWILGPUrc_QbLear More
Webinar on Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond-Be Vocal for Local and Prevent Illicit Trade
Counterfeit and smuggled goods have infiltrated everyday avenues of commerce, making their way into supply chains and consumers’ homes. The rise of smuggled and counterfeit products threatens manufacturers’ competitiveness, undermines consumer confidence, and poses a threat to individuals’ health and safety. While the centre and state governments have been playing a proactive role in dealing with this issue, FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) has also been highlighting the ill effects of this adversary and eliciting response from stakeholders to concertedly address this problem especially during the current times. It is with the above background that FICCI CASCADE organized a webinar on ‘Combating Counterfeit and Smuggled and Pirated goods During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond’, on 31st March 2021 focusing on the State of Telangana. The webinar was a part of a series of such events which are being organised across the country as part of a nation-wide awareness campaign to highlight the issue and focus on the growing menace of illegal trade.
Mr. T. Muralidharan, Chairman, FICCI Telangana State Council & Chairman, TMI Group welcomed the dignitaries and during his address, said, “Discussions on combating smuggling and counterfeiting are even more important in the context of COVID19 which is impacting the economy and is endangering lives of people. Illicit trade adversely impacts the manufacturing strength of the nation and if not checked will act as barrier to the government’s vision of making India a global manufacturing hub”. Mr Muralidharan also suggested that the crimes pertaining to counterfeiting should be treated as cases of revenue evasion and not only as a consumer protection and quality issue. Moreover, colluders including the retailers should be treated like counterfeiters. It will be also important that one should name and shame the colluders and report them to the GST and IT authorities. This will prove to be a bigger deterrent than consumer court actions. Today most consumers believe that counterfeiting happens at a small scale and hence it is not seen as a serious issue while buying. Reports being published regularly reports on the scale of the menace with statistics will help in generating greater public awareness.
Mr. Anil Sinha, Former Director, CBI and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE in his address emphasized on the need for policies and regulations which disincentivizes such illegal activities. He suggested the need for a nodal agency comprising of representatives from different government departments to ensure coordinated actions against this menace. He informed that FICCI CASCADE had recently recommended to the Govt. of India for setting up of an umbrella body i.e., a multi-agency centre to ensure proper coordination amongst the concerned Ministries/Departments/Enforcement agencies to address the problems arising out of Illicit trade. This nodal agency could share intelligence and enhance cooperation among national and international bodies. Further, it could make policy recommendations and build capacities to address the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling.
The webinar was also addressed by industry leaders – Mr. Milind Palany, Global Brand Protection Lead – India & South Asia, Johnson & Johnson: Mr. Amit Bhasin, General Manager, Legal- Customer Development and Corporate Secretarial, Hindustan Unilever Ltd.; and Mr Devendra Surana, Managing Director, Bhagyanagar India Ltd. They emphasized that the illicit trade problem has only compounded in the pandemic situation with criminals using it as an opportunity to cause significant damage on the economy of the nation, health, and safety of the consumers. All the speakers underlined the need for safeguarding the consumers’ health and safety, and the interest of genuine businesses, while promoting indigenous production should be a fundamental strategy to India’s growth and development.
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Capacity Building Programme for Police Officers on Prevention of Counterfeiting, Smuggling and Piracy
FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) organized a capacity building programme on Prevention of Counterfeiting and Smuggling for the police officers of Gurugram on 6th March 2021. Mr. Maqsood Ahmed, IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Gurugram in his address said, “Activities like smuggling and counterfeiting are causing huge damage to the society and the nation’s economy. Gurugram has recently seen a spike in white collared crime hence increasing surveillance, creating awareness and coordination amongst law enforcement agencies are key to counter this menace effectively.
Mr. Deep Chand, Advisor FICCI CASCADE and Former Special Commissioner of Police, New Delhi during his presentation of the overview on Socio-Economic Impact of Counterfeiting, Smuggling & Piracy highlighted that the COVID19 provided an opportunity to criminals to exploit the current situation and found new ways to make money be it counterfeit or smuggled goods, fraud and cybercrime. Applauding the enforcement officers, Mr. Deep Chand said “even as the country is grappling with the coronavirus crisis, the resolve of officers to protect infiltration of illicit goods surreptitiously into our market-places while maintaining law and order is indeed laudable. However, continued thrust of enforcement activity is essential to keep the offenders at bay.”
The programme was also addressed by Mr. Dharamveer Singh, Asst. Commissioner of Police, Gurugram Police. Sharing his wide experience on investigation of such cases, Mr. Singh emphasized that how the increasing number of seizures may just be the tip of the iceberg of a much larger network and hence this calls for continued focus on tackling the widespread threat
This capacity building programme aimed to sensitize the police officers and underscore the importance of continued awareness and seriousness of the impact of counterfeit and smuggled goods. It was emphasized that such illicit trading practices not only causes huge losses to the government and industry but is also causing significant economic and health & safety consequences for the society at large. Mr. Shashank Singh, Partner, K&S Partners informed the officers about the relevant laws and procedures to be followed while dealing with such cases. Industry representatives- Mr. Milind Palany, Global Brand Protection Lead, India & South Asia, Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Pravin Singh, Lead-Public Policy & Advocacy and Mr. Manish Bathri, Consultant, Brand Protection, Marico Ltd. and Mr. Rajiv Suri, Partner, RNA Technology & IP Attorneys who spoke on behalf of Puma discussed the collaborative role of police and industry in thwarting this menace.
FICCI CASCADE has been successful in stirring an active debate on the topic nationally through various awareness programmes. Among other activities, FICCI CASCADE has been organizing capacity building programs for police officers in various states, focusing on economic offences related to counterfeiting and smuggling, equipping the officers to understand the laws and take requisite action against the perpetrators.Lear More
Two Held at Delhi Airport for Smuggling Gold, High Quality Iranian Saffron & Cigarettes Worth Rs 50 Lakh
Two men have been arrested by the officials of customs preventive at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here for smuggling in gold, high quality Iranian saffron and cigarettes worth nearly Rs 50 lakh, according to a statement issued on Saturday. The duo, who are resident of Delhi, were intercepted after their arrival from Dubai early on Friday morning.
“Detailed searches were carried out and five biscuits of gold (weighing a total of 583 grams and valued at Rs 29.44 lakh) were found from one passenger. He had concealed it inside a packet of cigarette being carried by him,” it said. Another person was found carrying high quality Iranian saffron (575 packets of 25 grams each, collectively weighing 14.37 kgs) valued at Rs 16.53 lakh, said the statement issued by the customs preventive.
The second passenger was also carrying 17,600 sticks of cigarettes (Esse Gold brand) worth Rs 3.52 lakh, it said. All the items — gold, Iranian saffron and cigarettes — worth Rs 49.49 lakh were seized and the accused were arrested, according to the statement. “Both the accused are part of a syndicate involved in smuggling. Efforts are on to trace their other group members,” a senior official said.Lear More
A 32-year-old man has been sentenced after being caught smuggling thousands of illicit cigarettes into Northern Ireland.
Wang Jie Chen, from Dunluskin Gardens in the seaside town had £20,000 in cash and 15,000 cigarettes when the car he was travelling in was stopped on the East Bread Road in Belfast in 2017.
Track and trace postage numbers were also found in the vehicle. Chen failed to appear in court on the matter and subsequently an arrest warrant was issued.
As the HMRC continued their investigations, they intercepted parcels at a Belfast sorting depot and seized 46 packages addressed to Chen, containing 200,000 cigarettes which were hidden inside 270 rucksacks.
When residential premises in Belfast was searched in connection to the cigarettes more evidence of cigarette smuggling was uncovered.Lear More
Panaji: The air intelligence wing of Goa customs foiled a gold smuggling bid on Saturday with the seizure of over 2kg gold valued at Rs 95 lakh. Customs sleuths nabbed a Kolkata resident who is part of the smuggling ring.
Customs officials said that with fewer flights operating between Dubai and Goa, smugglers are using the New Delhi route to smuggle gold. As per information, the gold was being smuggled aboard Vistara flight UK847.
“Goa customs officers have successfully busted a modus operandi whereby an International passenger brought the smuggled gold from Dubai to Delhi and purposely left the gold below his seat with knowledge that the same flight will be on domestic run from Delhi to Goa,” said Y B Sahare, assistant commissioner of Goa Customs.
As per information, the gold was left behind by one passenger who disembarked at Delhi after which another member of the ring boarded the flight. The passenger, who is a native of West Bengal was nabbed in Goa with the gold under the provisions of Customs Act, 1962.Lear More
The Sirsa police have seized counterfeit currency worth Rs 71,000 from a youth and arrested him from Auto Market area in Sirsa town today.
The police spokesperson said that the youth, Ravi alias Vicky, resident of a village in Sirsa district, was found possessing counterfeit currency of Rs 500 denomination.
Police personnel Deepak Kumar became suspicious on seeing his movements. So, he detained Ravi and inquired about his activities. During search, he was found carrying the currency notes which turned out to be counterfeit.Lear More