Apart from dealing with a shortage of essential medical supplies in the fight against Covid-19, the state governments are simultaneously dealing with the menace caused by black marketers who see the pandemic as an opportunity to profit off people’s misfortune. In another case of such black marketing, Indore police arrested Congress secretary Yatindra Verma on Saturday for allegedly selling Oxygen Flow meters at an inflated price amid an acute shortage.
The Congress leader was nabbed by laying a trap as Rajendra Nagar Traffic Inspector (TI) Amrita Solanki posed as a buyer and approached Verma for purchasing an Oxy-Flow meter or Oxygen Flow meter. Verma was caught selling the device for Rs 7,000 each, while the market prices range between Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000. Oxygen Flow metes are used with Oxygen cylinders to measure and regulate the flow of oxygen from the patient to the cylinder.
Sources state that apart from Oxy-Flow meters, Verma was also selling several other essential equipments at an inflated rate in the black market.
Ashutosh Bagri, Superintendent of Police informed the reporters, “We are planning to invoke the stringent National Security Act against them. Some of the accused have links to Gujarat and probe was underway along with police of that state.”
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan remarked, “We direct the Director-General of Police to constitute special teams in these cities and other major places to trace out all such black marketers.”
The court in an attempt to curb black marketing, further asked the DGP to take stern action against the black marketers of the drugs as well as against the persons from whom they procure the medicines and equipment.
Black marketing in other states
Other states/ UTs like Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are also dealing with the black marketers amidst the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Unearthing a mammoth racket, the Delhi Police on Friday had recovered 105 oxygen concentrators during the raids at two restaurants – Khan Chacha and Town Hall, situated in Lutyen Delhi’s Khan Market. On Thursday, Delhi Police had also recovered 419 oxygen concentrators from a restaurant-cum-bar in south Delhi’s Lodhi Colony area. All three restaurants are owned by Navneet Kalra who is said to be on the run.
Several other incidents of black-marketing of oxygen cylinders and Covid-19 drugs have been reported form various places.