Even though it was being ground in massive quantities, the earthy and nutty undertones of cumin were suspiciously missing. It was a “unique Rajasthani technique,” the five men who manufactured cumin seeds allegedly told curious shopkeepers nearby.
On Tuesday, the five men were arrested for allegedly making and selling “fake cumin seeds” — made using broom bits, stone powder, molasses and grass. Police said the men distributed the seeds at wholesale markets across Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The accused hail from UP’s Shahjahanpur. They set up a factory in a single-storey building covered with metal sheets in Pooth Khurd village. “The men bought the raw material from UP and made the fake cumin in the factory. We recovered more than 20,000 kg of fake cumin from the factory and the warehouse. The accused told us there were 4-5 other men who worked for them, but weren’t at the factory at the time of the raid. We are looking for them and are further investigating the matter with the FSSAI,” said a senior police officer. The accused were identified as Harinandan, Kamran, Ganga Prasad, Harish and Pawan. A case was registered at Bawana police station against the men for cheating and adulteration of food.
Gaurav Sharma, DCP (Outer North) said, “The men sold the fake cumin by saying it was a ‘traditional condiment’ from Rajasthan, made in a unique manner which left it without cumin’s regular smell. The owner, Harinandan, would sell the product for Rs 40 per kg and his partners were paid Rs 2 per kg.”