Bengaluru: Several malls and multiplexes across Karnataka were raided for overpricing and selling mineral water above the maximum retail price (MRP), state Food and Civil Supplies Minister U.T. Khader on Wednesday.
"Our officials raided malls and multiplexes at 178 locations across the state, including Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Belagavi, Kalaburgi, Mangaluru and Mysuru districts for charging above the MRP for mineral water," he told reporters here.
Raids in Bengaluru were conducted on Forum Mall, Garuda Mall, Gopalan Mall, Mantri Mall, Orion Mall, Sigma Mall and UB City.
The officials registered 46 cases against the offenders for selling a litre bottle of mineral water at Rs 50 against the original rate of Rs 20 MRP embossed on it.
"The raids were conducted by 39 teams following numerous complaints from consumers across the state to the department that they were forced to pay 150 per cent more than the MRP for a litre of mineral water," said Khader.
"We have booked 10 cases in Bengaluru Urban, 2 in Bengaluru Rural, 17 in Belagavi, 15 in Kalaburgi and 2 in Mysuru districts," said Legal Metrology Controller P.R. Shiva Prasad.
Overpricing of mineral water bottles is a violation of the latest Legal Metrology Packaged Commodities Rules (PCR) amended in 2016 by the Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry.
"The penalty for violating the PCR is Rs.2,000 for first time and six months imprisonment for second time," said Prasad.
Khader said that as bottled or mineral water is not included in the list of essential commodities, the state government has decided to urge the central government to include it in the list to protect consumers from being exploited by unscrupulous sellers.
Warning mall and multiplexes of continuing the raids on them if they continue to overcharge for mineral water, the Minister said the department would also check overpricing of eatables by them soon.