SHIMLA: A chemist was booked for selling N-95 masks at over four times higher than the fixed price in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district amid the COVID-19 outbreak, police said on Saturday.
A first information report (FIR) was lodged against the owner of a medical store located in Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (RPGMC), Tanda under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act at Kangra police station on a complaint by the district food and civil supplies department, they added.
Additional SHO of Kangra police station Jasbir Singh told PTI on Saturday that the FIR had been lodged against pharmacy owner Rakesh Vohra.
However, Singh said the accused had not been arrested so far as the matter was being investigated.
If the allegations are proved against him in the court, he may be jailed up to five years under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, the police officer added.
Kangra District Controller of Food and Civil Supplies Narinder Dhiman told PTI that the FIR was lodged after the chemist had been found selling N95 masks at Rs 500 each against its fixed selling price of Rs 115.50.
The department had received complaints from the public against the chemist selling masks at higher rates, he added.
Subsequently, Dhiman sent two food and civil supplies department inspectors under the guise of customers to collect the evidence.
The inspectors were also quoted Rs 500 for each mask by the pharmacy, he added.
At this, Dhiman accompanied by a team raided the shop and seized the chemist's stock of 100 black coloured and 15 N95 masks.
According to a recent notification under clause 3(1)(d) of the Himachal Pradesh Hoarding and Profiteering Prevention Order 1977 issued by Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati, a wholesaler may charge maximum 5 per cent and a retailer may charge 10 per cent margin of profit on selling 2 ply/3 ply surgical masks and N95 masks.
District Controller Dhiman said the chemist had purchased N95 masks at Rs 105 each as per the billing and was supposed to sell it at Rs 115.50 with a maximum 10 per cent margin of profit as per the notification but he was found selling it at Rs 500.