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Black-Marketing of Oxygen: ‘Khan Chacha’ Owner Navneet Kalra Held

Kalra is the owner of ‘Khan Chacha’ restaurant, from where many oxygen concentrators had been seized earlier in May.

Updated
COVID-19
2 min read
Navneet Kalra, who owns Khan Chacha and Town Hall restaurants in Delhi.
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Businessman Navneet Kalra, accused in the case over black marketing of oxygen concentrators, was on Sunday, 16 May, night, arrested by Delhi Police, ANI reported, quoting sources.

Kalra is the owner of the ‘Khan Chacha’ restaurant, from where a large number of oxygen concentrators had been seized in a raid by Delhi Police earlier in May.

On 6 May, the Delhi Police had received information about black-marketing of oxygen concentrators in some restaurants. Acting on the information, the police raided the Nege & Ju Bar, located at the Lodhi Road Central Market, and recovered three dozen concentrators.

Kalra had reportedly bought the concentrators from Matrix Cellular, which had imported them, at a cost of Rs 16,000 to Rs 22,000 each, and sold it for Rs 70,000.

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On 5 May, a case was registered against Kalra under Section 420 (cheating), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The FIR, also registered under Essential Commodities Act and Epidemic Diseases Act, for black marketing of oxygen cylinders prescribes maximum punishment for seven years.

Bail Plea Rejected

Kalra was reportedly arrested from Gurugram on Sunday late night and handed over over to the Delhi Police Crime Branch, IANS reported, quoting sources. He had been absconding since 7 May.

Kalra had also approached the High Court for anticipatory bail after the raids. However, the court had rejected his plea.

On Friday, senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vikas Pahwa, who appeared for Kalra, argued that this was a case of harassment and punishment cannot be given to a person before fixation of price of an essential commodity.

A sessions court had on Thursday dismissed Kalra’s anticipatory bail plea, saying the allegations against him were serious and his custodial interrogation was required to “unearth the entire conspiracy."

On Thursday, Singhvi had said that his client bought the concentrators from Matrix Cellular after paying GST and the payment was made via credit card, therefore, there was nothing clandestine about the purchase of the equipment.

Links With the Influential

Kalra has close links with several politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and several Congress leaders.

Investigations revealed that Kalra had made “crores” by selling the China-made oxygen concentrators as premium German products. The police reported that the concentrators were of poor quality as many did not work and produced just 35 percent oxygen, reported Money Control.

Kalra owns the Dayal Opticals store, apart from a number of top-class restaurants. He belongs to an influential and powerful family. Kalra is married to Kitty, a fitness anchor for Hotstar and Airtel Digital, the daughter of Sirajuddin Qureshi, a prominent halal beef exporter.

Interestingly, just last year, CBI had conducted raids at Qureshi’s Hind Agro Industries Limited for allegedly cheating a consortium of banks of about Rs 222 crore.

Kalra is also said to dabble in real estate. Reports have suggested that he is under heavy debt.

(With inputs from ANI and IANS.)

(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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