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Mumbai: Following an order on crackdown on black marketing of masks and manufacture of fake hand sanitizers in wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, seizure of 25 lakh masks in Mumbai by Maharashtra Police recently has come as a major relief for the people in the state.

Sources said that 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 6 lakh masks on Wednesday. These include 1 lakh N-95 masks and 5 lakh three-ply masks.

Earlier, the Maharashtra Police ordered to crack down on black marketing of masks and manufacture of fake sanitisers in wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, state home minister Anil Deshmukh said on Saturday.

According to reports, the seized masks have been kept at the Andheri Sports Complex and will soon be distributed among health workers across Mumbai and Pune. The report quoted deputy police commissioner of Zone 7, Vishwas Shankarrao, as saying that 600,000 masks will be distributed to hospitals under the BMC, while the remaining will be sent to Haffkine Institute in Pune.

The police were quoted as saying that the masks were allegedly being hoarded by the father of a man identified only as Mihir.

The raid was conducted at the Shah Warehousing and Transport Godown in suburban Mumbai, sources said.

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