On Friday (May 21), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids on the properties of Khan Market businessman Navneet Kalra, his father-in-law, and Matrix Managing Director Gagan Duggal for hoarding and black marketing oxygen concentrators. During the raids, it has come to light that the duo had been selling substandard oxygen concentrators to people by claiming that is made using German technology.
As per reports, the ED searched the restaurants of Navneet Kalra in Khan Market, including Khan Chacha, Town Hall, Nega and Ju, and Dayal Opticals. Besides, his residences at Mandi road, Mehrauli were also raided. The central agency also checked the bank lockers of the accused businessman. ED has recovered 150 foreign branded liquor bottles, laptops, pen drives, and property documents from his residence.
Navneet Kalra and Gagan Duggal involved in selling substandard oxygen concentrators at high prices, says ED
According to the Enforcement Directorate, Matrix MD Gagan Duggal worked alongside Navneet Kalra in importing oxygen concentrators and then selling them at high prices. The concentrators were bought from China and were imported to India via Hong Kong. ED informed that the duo had imported more than 7000 such oxygen concentrators in the past one month. While the import price of the life-saving equipment was around ₹15000, they sold them for ₹69,999 per piece.
Citing sources, Hindustan Times reported that the forensic examination of the oxygen concentrators has revealed that they are of substandard quality. Despite being aware of this, Navneet Kalra and his aide Gagan Duggal sold the oxygen concentrators to needy people at exorbitant prices by falsely claiming that they are made of German technology. An anonymous ED officer informed, “The duo took advantage of a raging pandemic and made huge profit by cheating the public.”
Matrix issues statement, denies allegations of ‘wrongdoing’
In a statement, Matrix has denied all claims of illicit profiteering and poor quality of its oxygen concentrators. “All materials procured by Matrix have been by way of import or purchase in India, after paying all relevant duties and taxes. Matrix has thereafter facilitated the sale of such equipment/materials via its app or direct orders placed on the company, all of which have used formal banking channels based on tax invoices with an unimpeachable audit trail,” it said.
“Separately, as part of our corporate social responsibility program, the company has donated over 200 oxygen concentrators, 10,000 masks, across the country; while also committing a donation of 200 oxygen concentrators to reputable organizations. The baseless allegations and misguided investigation shall be fiercely contested by Matrix and very soon we will be back to doing what we should be – which is helping Delhi,” it said. Navneet Kalra too has claimed innocence and said that the oxygen concentrators were for regular sale.
Navneet Kalra arrested for hoarding, black marketing of oxygen concentrators
It must be mentioned that the Enforcement Directorate has the power to seize properties if it can establish that the money made through them were the proceeds of criminal activity. Earlier on May 7, ED had recovered 524 oxygen concentrators from Navneet Kalra from three of his restaurants and the office of Matrix Cellular. He was arrested on May 16 by the Delhi Police for black marketing and hoarding of oxygen concentrators. He was produced before a local court on Thursday (May 20) and sent to judicial custody for two weeks.