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Meet AAP’s ‘Delhi ke Nirmata’: Who is Navneet Kalra, the businessman on the run after oxygen hoarding scandal was busted

Navneet Kalra imported the oxygen concentrators from China at around Rs 20,000-25,000, and sold them in Delhi for at least Rs 70,000

After recovering 419 oxygen concentrators from a business establishment on Thursday, Delhi Police recovered 96 more a restaurant at Khan Market on Friday. And it has been found that all the business establishments from where the machines were found are owned by the same individual, entrepreneur Navneet Kalra.

On Thursday, Delhi Police had seized over 450 oxygen concentrators in multiple raids across the city. Among this, as many as 419 machines were recovered from businesses owned by well-known businessman Navneet Kalra. During the raids on Thursday, 32 oxygen concentrators with 9 and 5 litres capacity were found at the Nege & Ju bar, owned by Kalra. After police arrested three persons from the bar, they led the police to Khullar Farm in Mandi Village, where 387 more units were seized.

On Friday, Delhi Police raided other businesses owned by Kalra and recovered more oxygen concentrator. They seized 9 concentrators from Town Hall restaurant and bar at Lodhi Colony, and 96 units were found at the popular Khan Chacha eatery in Khan Market. Thus, a total of 524 units have been seized from restaurants owned by Kalra so far.

The first raid was conducted after the police received a tipoff from a WhatsApp message where Navneet Kalra had sent his account details to his acquaintances in lieu of a concentrator. According to police, during their raid at Nege & Ju bar yesterday, they found one person orking on a laptop and handling orders of oxygen concentrator by ‘Xpect Everything online portal’. Police have said that for oxygen concentrators were taken via the online portal as well as through WhatsApp groups.

Navneet Kalra imported the oxygen concentrators from China at around Rs 20,000-25,000, and sold them in Delhi for at least Rs 70,000, making a huge profit when the demands for the machines are very high in the city due to the shortage of oxygen for Covid-19 patients. Reportedly, they have sold around 50 units so far.

Navneet Kalra owns several eateries in Delhi, and owns the retail chain Dayal Opticals, which was founded by his father Dayal Dass Kalra. His restaurants among the most well known in Delhi, and are frequented by VIPs like celebrities and politicians.

The most famous eatery he owns is the kebab and rolls shop Khan Chacha in Khan market, which retained the name despite the change of ownership from the Khan family to Kalra. It was founded in 1972 as a small stall by Haji Banda Hasan, known as Khan Chacha. Later, his two sons Mohammad Saleem and Mohammad Javed were running the operations.

In 2009, the Khan family entered into a partnership with Navneet Kalra for expansion of the business. But the venture ended in 2016 and for reasons not clear so far, Navneet Kalra took over the ownership of the iconic restaurant along with its branding. While Kalra claims that he was assigned the rights of the brand through an agreement in 2012, the Khan family denies it saying that agreement is forged and fabricated. This resulted in a split in the partnership in 2016, and the Khan brothers started their own eatery named Rule The Rolls, located adjutant to Khan Chacha.

Khan Chacha has been popular with celebrities for decades, and Kalra’s other restaurant Town Hall is also not less popular. Run in partnership with restaurateurs Randeep Bajaj and Navneet Bajaj, the eatery is so popular with politicians that according to Vir Sanghvi, Rahul Gandhi is often seen waiting patiently for a table at Town Hall.

Navneet Kalra was felicitated by during the oath taking ceremony of Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi govt in 2020. He was among the 48 personalities honoured as ‘Delhi ke Nirmata’ by the AAP govt after it returned to power.

After the recovery of the oxygen concentrators in his restaurants, Navneet Kalra is in hiding, and Delhi Police has launched a manhunt to nab him.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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