A man, caught making and selling spurious soft drinks using brand names like Pepsi and Coke in large scale, has been sent to eight years in jail by a Delhi court saying he was putting the lives of consumers at risk.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Naresh Kumar Laka awarded the jail term to Sunnower Ali, an east Delhi resident, saying “the large scale recovery of spurious/fake substance and cold drinks” from the unit “clearly establish that he was doing an illegal business by putting the lives and health of the general consumers at great risk.”
“Although the offences were committed long back in 2004, but this court is of the opinion that a strict approach is required to be adopted for sending a message in the society that whosoever indulges in any such illegal activity causing or tend to cause any harm to the health of the people/consumer of the society which includes the innocent children, the maximum punishment should be awarded,” the court said.
“The convict not only caused injury to the society but also caused losses to the original producing company i.e. M/s Pearl Drinks Limited and the consumer Vijay Kumar,” it added.
Ali was awarded five-year and three-year jail term for offences of cheating and copyright violation respectively by the court, which made it clear that the sentence would run one after the other as the offences were distinct and serious.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1.05 lakh on Ali and said out of the total amount, Rs 50,000 shall be paid to the company, M/s Pearl Drinks Ltd, and Rs 5,000 to consumer Vijay Kumar, who had filed a complaint against the convict.
The court held that Ali was found running a plant to manufacture spurious cold drinks by bottling in the famous brand names, Pepsi, Limca, Mirinda, Thumbs Up and Coke.
It noted that at the time of raid, a large quantity of spurious cold drinks, 1200 empty and filled bottles, plants and machinery were also recovered.
A complaint was filed with the police in April 2004 by a representative of M/s Pearl Drinks Limited, franchisee of PepsiCo India, alleging that Vijay Kumar had made a complaint that the quality of the product of a Pepsi bottle purchased by him was inferior and had a bad taste.
The chemical analysis of the bottle was conducted and it was found that its cover was manually closed and other chemical parameters did not match the prescribed norms. The complaint alleged that some persons were involved in the business of making spurious drinking bottles and cheating consumers and the original company.
During the trial, Ali claimed innocence.
( Source – PTI )