Navneet Kalra, who is accused in the Khan market oxygen concentrators black-marketing racket, had his anticipatory bail plea rejected by a local Delhi court on Thursday. Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Garg dismissed the application of anticipatory bail filed by Kalra. Aggrieved by this order, Navneet Kalra filed an appeal in the Delhi High Court with Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing on his behalf.
In his submission, Singhvi argued that Navneet Kalra is neither an importer nor a manufacturer, merely a person who runs some restaurants and owns an old family business called Dayal Opticals. He further argued that the purchase of oxygen concentrators by Kalra was above-board and did not amount to hoarding.
However, the Court questioned Singhvi’s submission, asking that if Kalra was neither an importer nor a manufacturer, under what capacity was he holding 105 oxygen concentrators on his properties. Interestingly, when enquired by the Court if the MRP of the Oxygen Concentrators was Rs. 70,000, Singhvi sincerely replied, “It is 69,999 Rs.”
Assistant Solicitor General SV Raju called it a “classic case of black marketing by taking advantage of needy people”. ASG Raju also made an explosive submission that after testing two of the seized oxygen concentrators, the oxygen output was found to be only 32%, instead of the expected 90-95%. WHO guidelines call for an oxygen concentrator to provide at least 80-85% output.
“With responsibility I’m making a statement, that out of the seized Concentrators, two samples were checked and I’m shocked to see that the output is only 32%,” said ASG Raju.
“When a person goes to buy a Concentrator, he wants something which increases the oxygen level to 93 and not just 30%. There is a long-distance between 80 to 32. Persons were induced to buy machines which were useless.” ASG Raju added.
The Court then proceeded to adjourn the hearing, announcing that the hearing will commence at 12 PM on Friday.
Delhi Police raids Navneet Kalra’s restaurant in Khan Market
It is pertinent to note that Delhi Police on May 7 (Friday), recovered 105 oxygen concentrators during the raids at two restaurants – Khan Chacha and Town Hall, situated in Delhi’s Khan Market. On May 6, Delhi Police had also recovered 419 oxygen concentrators from a restaurant-cum-bar in south Delhi’s Lodhi Colony area.
Navneet Kalra is the owner of all three restaurants. Following the raids, Kalra switched off his mobile phone and believed to have fled the city. It is important to note that Navneet Kalra was felicitated by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government in 2020. He was among the 48 personalities honored as ‘Delhi ke Nirmata’ by the AAP government after returning to power.
According to the police, Kalra took orders for oxygen concentrators via an online portal as well as through WhatsApp groups. The accused has been importing the oxygen concentrators since October last year. As demands for Oxygen concentrators increased in February this year, he imported more such machines and stored them at different restaurants.
Delhi police had also arrested four men, Gaurav Khanna, Satish Sethi, Vikrant and Hitesh for hoarding and black-marketing the equipment. Khanna is the CEO of Matrix Cellular Services Ltd which is one of the companies involved in importing the equipment.