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O2 Concentrator Case: Navneet Kalra’s Anticipatory Bail Rejected

As per the investigators, oxygen concentrators that were bought for Rs 14,000 were being sold for over Rs 70,000.

Updated
COVID-19
2 min read
Navneet Kalra, who owns Khan Chacha and Town Hall restaurants in Delhi.
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A Delhi court on Thursday, 13 May, dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Navneet Kalra, who owns Khan Chacha and Town Hall restaurants in Delhi, in connection with a case related to hoarding of oxygen concentrators. The court had yesterday reserved its order on the plea.

The court was hearing Kalra's anticipatory bail plea in connection with the police seizing oxygen concentrators from his restaurants.

The court had on Tuesday, 11 May, refused to give any interim relief from arrest to Kalra in the alleged oxygen concentrator hoarding and black marketing case.

What Charges Have Been Filed Against Kalra?

A case under various offences dealing with cheating, disobedience to order promulgated by a public servant, criminal conspiracy, and violating provisions of Essential Commodities Act, 1955, has been filed against Kalra, following the seizure of 524 oxygen concentrators from his restaurants in the national capital. Four men were arrested during the raids, while Kalra is absconding.

The case of hoarding the life-saving equipment comes at a time when the second wave of COVID is wreaking havoc across the country, with several reports of patients dying due to lack of oxygen.

According to the Delhi Police, it is suspected that Kalra and his family have left Delhi since the oxygen concentrators were found. Teams have been formed and raids are being conducted in Delhi-NCR and neighbouring states, the cops added.

The Delhi Police opposed Kalra'a anticipatory bail saying that the investigation was at a very early stage and that Kalra's custodial interrogation was crucial to further unearth his relationship with other parties.

It was also argued that no anticipatory bail could be granted to “influential persons” who have the potential to tamper with evidence or intimidate prosecution witnesses.

The prosecution asserted that Kalra had made "crores of rupees" by suggesting to those who needed the equipment, that his oxygen concentrators were "premium", "German", and "sufficient for two persons".

As per the investigators, evidence shows that oxygen concentrators that were bought for Rs 14,000 to 15,000 were later sold for over Rs 70,000. Kalra, on the other hand said that he was being “framed” and that the government authorities had not fixed a ceiling price for the machines.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court has asked the accused in the alleged black marketing and hoarding cases of oxygen, drugs etc filed after 2 May to appear before the court virtually on the next date of hearing.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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