New Delhi, Apr 26 (PTI) Professional body APDI has urged the government to put private detectives and investigators under the category of essential services to check flooding of counterfeit products in the market amid the lockdown to contain COVID-19.
During the current lockdown, the counterfeiting is one big issue which is keeping the Indian industry and corporate world worried.
Amid reports of flooding of counterfeit goods – medical supplies, food and grocery items, liquor, electronics etc – in the market, the Indian businesses are seeking help of private detective agencies to ensure that counterfeit items are seized before they reach the market.
'The lockdown period now has highlighted the loopholes in the supply chain and how dubious people are manipulating the system by supplying counterfeit goods and products. The government machinery has also been exposed as neither they have adequate manpower not wherewithal to deal which such a situation,' Association of Professional Detectives and Investigators (APDI) Chairman K Vikram Singh told PTI.
APDI is the apex body of major detective and private investigating agencies in India.
Singh, who recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering help of APDI in assisting government agencies in dealing with the issue of counterfeit products, said every year counterfeiting causes a loss of over Rs one lakh crore annually to the Indian economy.
'The lockdown period so far has seen a steep jump in seizure of counterfeit products which pose health, safety and security risk to Indians,' he added.
Referring to the current scenario, Singh said as the lockdown and partial lockdown will continue for some time, the government needs to think proactively and engage services of private detective and investigation agencies to check sale of counterfeit products.
'The government should put us under essential services so that we can help the government as well as private players in dealing with cases of counterfeits and frauds,' he said.
According to Shivindra Pratap Singh, Managing Director, Lancers Network Limited, a leading risk consulting and brand protection service provider, 'Every disaster, natural calamity or conflict is seen as an opportunity by fraudsters and counterfeiters to make quick money. Today these fraudsters have stepped up and filled the last-mile supply chain vacuum by providing substandard, mostly locally assembled/produced spurious products'.
Over 10,000 enforcement actions are annually under taken by various law enforcement agencies across the country. Over 100 enforcement actions have taken place across India since the lockdown started, he added.
'As we plan our next few months, it is important for the law enforcement authorities to focus on curtailing the counterfeiting activities by proactively engaging with the brand protection and security functions. The nation cannot afford a public health scare and loss to the exchequer emerging from mass distribution of counterfeit products. Relentless pursuit of these perpetrators by law enforcement agencies is need of the hour,' Singh said. PTI KKS BAL