258 Tins of Fake Ghee Seized in Pakistan

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AHMEDABAD: The grainy and fragrant pure ghee you trust to add to your cooking might not be as pure as you imagine, and it might not be ghee at all.

A unit producing fake ghee was raided by the vigilance squad of Director General of Police (DGP) on Tuesday. No less than 258 tins of counterfeit ghee of 25 kg each were seized in the operation. Investigators have arrested two persons from the spot while the search for two absconding accused persons is on.

According to vigilance squad officials, a team led by inspectors R L Solanki and N D Chauhan received a tip-off about a unit selling fake ghee under the garb of a soy oil production factory in Aslali.

Working on the information, the team raided Shreeji Trading in Rambhai Estate near Aslali on Tuesday morning. The team managed to nab Dharamshi Manek, a resident of Bodakdev and Parag Jobanputra, a resident of Satellite in Ahmedabad, from the spot.

“We found 258 packed tins from the spot with a market value of Rs 5.16 lakh. On verification, we found that it was adulterated ghee. When questioned, the owners said that they used soy oil, vegetable ghee, edible colour and fragrance to produce ‘pure ghee’ in the unit. The unit is an agency for soy oil marketing for the last two years. They claim to have started producing and marketing ghee in the last three months. We are yet to confirm the claim,” said Chauhan.

Investigators said that the two accused along with Paresh Sindhi and Bipin Rawal, both residents of Kubernagar and Sardarnagar, had hired four men for the production. They would first mix the ingredients and then add colour and fragrance.

“Interestingly, the ghee was not supplied to Ahmedabad or areas nearby. The concoction would be packed in tin of 25 kg each bearing labels of Marutinandan Castor Oil. The pack would also mention that the oil is not edible. It would then be delivered to dealers in Saurashtra who would sell the contents loose. While they would produce a tin for Rs 900, it sold for Rs 2,000. As it much cheaper than pure desi ghee, traders would buy this and sell to customers with a huge profit margin,” said a vigilance squad official.

 

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Convictions and €23 Million Fine in Adulterated Butter Case

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Brussels — The Magistrates Court in Créteil (France) has imposed suspended prison sentences on the managers of a dairy company found guilty of selling products manufactured using adulterated butter. The defendants will also have to pay back over €23 million in unlawfully obtained European subsidies.

The judgment is the result of an international investigation in which the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF) has played an active part, providing back-up for national investigations in France, Italy, Belgium and Germany.

The aim of the investigations was to uncover and prosecute offences involving the production and distribution of adulterated butter on the European market. The Director-General of OLAF, Franz-Hermann Brüner commented “it … shows that OLAF’s work cannot always be expected to bring results overnight. The facts put before the court date back to the end of the 1990s and OLAF provided back-up for the investigations conducted by the national authorities in four Member States for a number of years.”

On 22 November 2007 the Créteil Magistrates Court sentenced the defendants to eight months’ and five months’ imprisonment respectively for selling goods under false pretences [i.e. products which should not have been designated as butter]. However, the Court acquitted the defendants of the charge of offence of conspiracy to defraud, which involved adulterated industrial butter bought at the end of the 1990s by French firms from Italian companies with links to the world of organised crime.

OLAF operations in the adulterated butter case [included] the Serious Financial Crime Office of the French Judicial Police (Office de Répression de la Grande Délinquance Financière de la Police Judiciaire française), the Naples Prosecutor’s Office and the Guardia di Finanza (the Italian Revenue Police). Criminal proceedings are currently pending in Italy (Naples) and Belgium (Verviers and Veurne). The German authorities have not opened criminal proceedings but have recovered Community subsidies totalling €150 000.

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