“To pay INR Rs. 5 Crore to KVIC, presently estimated loss and damages caused to KVIC, for using the impugned trademark of the Word “Khadi” and the passing off the goodwill and reputation of KVIC”
After ‘causing’ damages to the small scale units associated with Khadi, a Delhi based designer, despite under legal notice from Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), is allegedly trying to escape to some foreign country, claimed a whistleblower, who has shot letter to Prime Minister’s Officer (PMO).
According to available documents, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) had issued legal notice to a Delhi based designer-Raiman Sethi for “unauthorizedly” and “fraudulently” using the brand name “Khadi”.
“KVIC in a statement has said that Raiman Sethi is engaged in selling a range of products through various e-commerce platforms using the brand name “Khadi” and thus misleading consumers,” reads the document, Asking Ms Sethi to immediately stop selling or promoting its products using the brand name “Khadi”.
Meanwhile, a whistleblower who has written a letter of concern to PMO, with a copy to the Chairman KVIC and other respective officers, stated that with great reverence and humble submission, this is regarding a matter which is indeed an issue of great national interest and perhaps integrity of the country.
“A tailor/designer namely Raiman alias Raiman Sethi, a resident of N-5 Rajouri Garden, New Delhi 110027 has exploited nation’s pride “Khadi” by fraudulently impersonating the name (Khadi) for the sale of her substandard material/garments,” reads the letter, adding “For millions of Indians like me, including yourself, Khadi is not just a name but a legacy of our great tradition.”
Whistleblower asserted that Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has shot a legal notice to the ‘erring’ designer, claiming that Raiman has indulged in the sale of products in the name of word mark ‘Khadi’ without authority and permission.
“According to Regulation No. 3, No textile shall be sold or otherwise traded by any person or certified Khadi institution as Khadi or Khadi products in any form or manner without it bearing a Khadi Mark tag or label issued by the committee under the said regulations,” reads the document, adding that the mantra given by PM Shri Narendra Modi, “Khadi for Nation, Khadi for Fashion” has restored positive emotions in people all over India and has helped fashion industry worldwide.
Letter further reads that in spite of this great effort in Khadi movement and KVIC being a government enterprise there are individuals like Sethi, who continue to restrict the growth of this sector by allegedly copying the Word Mark/ Trademark “Khadi’ without authority and ‘disguising’ it into a cheap quality fabric for their own selfish reasons.
“In 2020, apparently, this designer started selling and promoting her designs illegally, under the name “Raiman Khadi Peasant Tunic” without authority from KVIC. This act of theft and impersonation became known to KVIC in May, 2020, after which the accused was served a legal notice,” reads the letter, adding that the ‘accused’ was asked to cease and desist immediately from using Trade Name, Business Name, Corporate Name, Trademark name “Khadi” and/or any other similar Mark/Name identical with or deceptively similar to the Word Name “Khadi” in any manner whatsoever of any nature;
Whistleblower also asked ‘accused’ to tender an unconditional apology and give an undertaking to KVIC in writing or Non-Judicial stamp paper of Rs.500 that she or her agent or any person claiming through her, will not here in after use, advertise, market, distribute or sell or deal in with the Word Mark “Khadi” or deceptively similar to the Word Name “Khadi” in any manner whatsoever of any nature;
She was also asked to disclose the volume of products and allied materials like packaging, brochures, advertisement, publicity materials etc (if any) which bears the impugned Word “Khadi”, in writing to KVIC and destroy it forthwith.
“To pay INR Rs. 5 Crore to KVIC, presently estimated loss and damages caused to KVIC, for using the impugned trademark of the Word “Khadi” and the passing off the goodwill and reputation of KVIC,” reads the document, adding that she was also warned that she will be liable to pay to KVIC such further loss and damages for loss of its sales and at all costs incurred towards legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, the whistleblower alleged that after committing a nationwide fraud, this ‘con-artist’ did not comply with any of the terms and conditions of this lawsuit. Evidently, the ‘accused’ Raiman Sethi sells these clothes on e-commerce platforms, through exhibitions across major metro cities and from stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, at a price 10 times higher than the original input.
“The crime does not stop here, Raiman Sethi has a manufacturing unit which operates from the premises of her home, and since commercial activities are not permitted in residential area of Rajouri Garden, Delhi, it is therefore an additional crime committed by her,” whistleblower maintained and added that she allegedly disguises a cheap quality fabric as “Khadi” to multiply her profits.
Whistleblower asserted that greed has consumed her so much that she violated the pride and sentiments of residents all across the country and robbed the livelihood of “Khadi” weavers.
“To avoid the consequences to her illegal actions and their legal liabilities, she is allegedly planning an escape to Canada. Unfortunately some individuals, unknown to her crimes, are willing to help her flee from India,” alleged whistleblower in a letter to PMO, which further claimed that this was disclosed through a WhatsApp conversation which took place from October and so on, between the accused and two individuals, a lady working as an assistant in United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Delhi, and an Overseas Indian Resident (NRI).
Whistleblower lamented that KVIC should follow up the lawsuit and take strict legal action against the ‘accused’ and recover damages against businesses that devalue the pride of the nation.
“Con-artists like Raiman Sethi continue to damage nation’s pride and take comfort in stealing from weavers, but this can only come to an end, if government in general and KVIC in particular are able to set an example by penalising/ punishing the accused,” whistleblower stated and added that in summary, the losses suffered on reputation and goodwill of KVIC and its weavers can only be restored if people are held accountable for their illegal actions.
Earlier in such matters, Chairman of KVIC Vinai Kumar Saxena had said that KVIC will take stern action against any individual or firm misusing the brand name Khadi.
“This is to safeguard the interest of Khadi artisans and prevent the sale of any spurious product in the name of Khadi,” Saxena told media.
When contacted chairman for comments on this particular case, there was some network issue, so message could not be delivered clearly.