CHENNAI: In what is perhaps the first indication of the State government’s zero tolerance to overpricing of goods, five shopkeepers landed behind bars on Sunday for selling above the maximum retail price (MRP) at the CMBT. While shopkeepers are usually let off with Rs 2,500 as fine for overpricing, the traders — irked by Labour Department officials continuously keeping tabs on them for a week — confronted the officials and finally ended up in prison.
Since October 20, the Labour and Legal Metrology Department officials have been conducting checks in CMBT shops. On Sunday, five shopkeepers were found overpricing products. “They were collecting Rs 5 excess for water bottles and Rs 10 for cool drinks. They tried to prevent us from checking and threatened us,” said a Labour Department official.
Based on their complaint, CMBT police booked five shopkeepers — Manimaran, Ramu, Thangaraj, Vinoth Damodaran and Natarajan — and booked them on charges of criminal intimidation and wrongful restraint.
“We don’t want the public to suffer during the Diwali season when a lot of people will be travelling,” said a Legal Metrology official.
“Vendors were taking a cut even for recharging mobiles. They would recharge Rs 10 lesser than the specified amount,” said a policeman.
Any complaints of overpricing can be made at 9445398739 and 9445398770.