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
New Delhi: Customs authorities at Chennai airport have made massive recoveries of gold in various forms over the past three days, with more than 9 kilograms of it found on nine persons who carried it in their rectums. The precious metal was also seized in the form of bits and chains from the same set of people. The nine arrested, including a woman, had flown in from Dubai and Sharjah.
Having received information, Customs authorities at Chennai International Airport, on Friday, arrested 17 persons, including four women, on suspicion of carrying gold. Arriving from Dubai on Fly Dubai Flight 8515, they were intercepted at the exit by officials, the Commissioner of Customs at the airport said in a press release.
On searching their persons, 48 bundles of gold paste weighing 9.03 kilogram were recovered from their rectums. Of these, officials could extract 7.72 kilograms worth ₹ 3.93 crores.
Further searching led to the recovery of 12 gold cut bits weighing 386 grams and a gold chain weighing 74 grams from various pant pockets and hand bags, the Commissioner of Customs said.Lear More
Balasore: The Special Task Force (STF) of Crime Branch on Sunday conducted raids at two different places in Jaleswar area, and seized gutkha and tobacco products worth over Rs 10 lakh.
Acting on a tip-off, a special team of STF conducted raids in different places of Jaleswar in Balasore district as part of its crackdown against illegal storage, manufacture and sale of fake tobacco (zarda) products yesterday.
The team seized huge quantities of Gopal Zarda and other tobacco materials from the possession of one Ashok Kumar Sahu of Rajpur area.
Later, the STF seized duplicate products of Gopal Zarda following a raid at Station bazaar area in Jaleswar. One Chandan Chourasia has been detained in this connection.Lear More
New Delhi, Jan 23: The National Investigation Agency has filed a chargesheet in connection with the Siluguri fake currency case. The case relates to the seizure of fake currency in denomination of ₹2000 (200 pieces) and ₹500 (02 pieces) having face value of ₹4,01,000 from the possession of accused Golam Martuja on January 8 last year by the DRI, Regional Unit Siliguri, West Bengal.
The NIA took over the case in March last year and arrested three persons Sadek Mia, Md. Baitullah and Md. Mukhtar Alam.
Investigation has revealed that the accused persons were part of a terrorist gang comprising of smugglers, couriers and distributors of FICN criminally conspired to smuggle and circulate High Quality Counterfeit Indian Paper Currency Notes leading to damage to the monetary stability of India.
The arrested accused persons used to receive FICNs from Bangladesh based smugglers through multiple couriers and used to circulate them in different parts of India and near Indo-Nepal border as established by money deposits in lieu of FICNs from these disparate locations into one account of Malda. The proceeds were subsequently channelized to Bangladesh based smugglers through different couriers/Hawala.Lear More
A 44-year-old man was arrested on Friday with fake currency notes with a face value of ₹4 lakh in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar, the police said.
The accused has been identified as Sheikh Shehzad, a resident of Delhi, who hails from Motihari district in Bihar, they said.
The recovered notes have almost every feature like that of an original one, including security thread and watermarks, the police said.
“On Thursday, the police were informed that a member of a fake Indian currency note [FICN] syndicate would come to Anand Vihar railway station to deliver a huge consignment to one of his contacts named Raja.
“A trap was laid and the accused was nabbed. The police recovered FICN in the denomination of ₹2,000 and with a total face value of ₹4 lakh from his possession,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said.Lear More