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Bihar: Police Intercept Large Counterfeit Salt Consignment from Gujarat

FIR filed; First such instance of substantial fake salt consignment from Gujarat being apprehended by the police in Bihar.

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Patna: A large quantity of counterfeit salt from Gujarat has been confiscated by police in Bihar, revealing a new trend of fake or adulterated salt infiltrating kitchens across rural areas in the state, alongside the common occurrence of adulterated spice powders in the market.

The startling disclosure came to light after the police intercepted a significant consignment of fake salt near the Sarai railway station on the Hajipur-Muzaffarpur rail section in Bihar. 

Dharmendar Kumar, an official from the Government Railway Police, told NewsClick that more than 7,000 packets of fake salt, originating from Gujarat, were seized on Tuesday (Dec 26). Kumar stated, "A police team, acting on information from a reliable source, conducted a raid and confiscated fake salt loaded onto six trucks near the Sarai railway station goods godown. There were 7,102 (seven thousand and one hundred twelve) fake salt packets."

This marks the first instance of such a substantial fake salt consignment from Gujarat being apprehended by the police in Bihar. A senior police officer of ADG rank at Bihar police headquarters revealed on Wednesday that police stations across the state had been alerted following the seizure of fake salt. "We have instructed police stations to closely monitor the supply of fake salt via goods trains near railway stations,” he said.

Kumar mentioned that a First Information Report (FIR) has been filed under the Fraud, Copyright Act, Trademark Act, and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against three individuals, including Gujarat-based trader Atmaram Choudhary, local trader Sujit Kumar of Sarai, and Sarai railway station goods godown official Bharat Kumar. Additionally, the police have apprehended half a dozen individuals involved in the transportation of fake salt.

Further details from Kumar's preliminary investigation revealed that the fake salt was packaged in duplicate packets resembling labels of the Tata Salt company. The counterfeit salt consignment was transported from Gujarat via a goods train. "We have learned during the initial investigation that a significant quantity of fake salt packets was supplied from Gujarat to Bihar to be sold in rural markets under the guise of a reputed brand," Kumar stated.

Dhananjay Kumar, a shopkeeper in Vaishali district, confirmed that fake salt is prevalent in rural markets, attributing its popularity to its lower cost compared to branded alternatives. "Fake salt is in high demand in rural areas because of its lower price. There is a common perception that salt is salt, but they forget that fake salt from Gujarat is much cheaper than the original salt from a branded company. It is adulterated salt and is likely to have health implications," warned Dr Athar Ansari, a health expert.

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