Duplicate Cosmetics from China in North-East India

By- Amir Zahedi

Sanjeevani Management Institute a company designed to train management students the art of communication and soft skills relating to customer care was allegedly running it as a company to sell cosmetic related products to customers in the rural area in the name of beautification of skin and teeth in the dental care segment.

Times of Assam was informed of a possible sting operation undertaken by the Assam Yuva Santha a right-wing youth organization of AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) when it unearthed an office of the said company situated in Barada Phukan Road, Rajamaidan in Jorhat today. An initial investigation by Times of Assam has revealed that management trainees who were selected from different parts of the state and those with a mere higher secondary degree were employed to campaign on a door to door marketing concept to sell these cosmetic products. While the products sold to the customers have been identified as ‘pietty cieam’ (Pretty Cream) and Dentacare for dental-related problems, interestingly these two products have been shipped from Guangzhou in China for direct retail marketing in India. Members of Assam Yuva Santha informed that the tubes didn’t carry any expiry dates and whenever the outer packet in which the expiry date is mentioned exceeds the time limit, they simply change and pack it in a new cover thereby risking customers to use duplicate creams comprising harmful substances often leading to skin irritations and in some cases leading to skin cancer and severe tooth problems.

Peter Marak so-called manager of the institute told, “Our boss Sanjeev Bora who hails from Bhangagarh in Guwahati sends us the products to our Jorhat office and we simply do the marketing and selling. Besides we deposit whatever cash we collect the other day in a savings account number of state bank of India payable at Guwahati”. On being asked to produce a slip of such transaction Marak was first reluctant to show the details but until pressurized by the public, he ultimately produced different slip which had the same name of Sanjeev Bora but with different account numbers of SBI. People have questioned how one man can open so many accounts in one bank? Definitely a case to be registered and trialed by BIEO, many have also remarked that the company was not paying any sales tax, income tax, and even duped the excise and customs departments by meticulously planning such operations.

Another modus operandi of the company/institute was to advertise in papers citing immediate openings in the company at the payroll of fifteen thousand per month. And most persons who got victimized were persons coming from far of places in search of a job and a handsome salary package, these trainees were not paid a salary but given a commission of thirty rupees for each product sold. The only assurance was that if they worked diligently for seven months by achieving the desired target, then they would be promoted to Branch Manager with a minimum salary of fifteen thousand but until then they had to serve under a consolidated commission.

Today’s development comes at a time when it has been reported in various media and publishing agencies of fraudulent companies that are not registered under RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and the Registrar of Companies Act. The most interesting part of the whole deal is that a product originating at china manufactured under what not conditions, as defined by International monitoring agencies for cosmetics care, are shipped to India under fraudulent names and methods evading customs, excise, sales tax, and income taxes thereby cheating the government of huge revenues and import duties are finally sold to customers belonging to the rural market who are often uneducated to differentiate between a genuine cosmetic product manufactured in India and the duplicate made in China.

Later on, the manager of the company was handed over to the police by the members of the Assam Yuva Santha for further investigation for using international bar codes on the products to camouflage it as genuine products while the management trainees were given a counseling lesson to remain away from selling duplicate products and its side effects on the human body. The people of the area have praised Assam Yuva Santha for undertaking such a noble work.

AGPAsom Gana ParishadAssam Yuva SanthaChinaReserve Bank of Indiaretail marketingSanjeevani Management Institute