MUMBAI: With the Maharashtra government grappling with acute shortage of masks to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak, the seizure of 25 lakh masks in Mumbai on Monday has come as a major relief. Sources said of the 25 lakh masks worth Rs 14 crore seized by the city police, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner, in an order dated March 24, invoked the Essential Commodities Act and took possession of six lakh masks on Wednesday. These include one lakh N-95 masks and five lakh three-ply masks.
Deputy commissioner (zone 7), Vishwas Shankarrao, is in possession of the masks which are likely to be distributed among health workers in various BMC-run hospitals. The masks are currently stored at Andheri Sports Complex, said a source.
The remaining 19 lakh masks will be handed over to the Haffkine Institute in Pune as per the collector’s order. The crime branch probing the black-marketing of masks is looking for the key conspirators. The city crime branch had on Monday raided two godowns and had seized the huge stash of masks. Police had arrested four suspects, including a customs house agent.
A search is on for the other suspects and The investigations is ongoing. A search is on for Mihir’s father, who, had allegedly hoarded masks with plans to blackmarket them.