Navneet Kalra held in O2 concentrator case

  • However, no senior police officer authorised to speak to the media confirmed Kalra’s arrest or disclosed where he was taken into custody from.
Delhi Police sealed Khan Chacha restaurant after oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies being black marketted were seized from here in Khan Market, in New Delhi.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
Delhi Police sealed Khan Chacha restaurant after oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies being black marketted were seized from here in Khan Market, in New Delhi.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
Updated on May 17, 2021 07:13 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Businessman Navneet Kalra who has been charged with hoarding oxygen concentrators and selling them at inflated prices was arrested late Sunday evening from a farmhouse in Gurugram, police officers aware of his arrest said.

However, no senior police officer authorised to speak to the media confirmed Kalra’s arrest or disclosed where he was taken into custody from.

Kalra was allegedly on the run since the recovery of 524 oxygen concentrators from three of his restaurants – Khan Chacha, Town Hall and Nege & Ju – and from the office of Matrix Cellular on May 7. A Delhi court on Thursday refused to grant protection from arrest to Kalra, following which he moved the Delhi high court. The high court on Friday also declined to grant any interim relief to him.

“I am persuaded by the reasons given by the trial court which is a valid ground for me not to grant any interim protection now,” said the single-judge bench of justice Subramonium Prasad.

He posted the matter for further hearing to Tuesday (May 18), after additional solicitor general SV Raju, appearing for the police, sought more time to file a reply and argue the case.

Raju also opposed any interim relief to Kalra by arguing that the present case was not one where such a protection can be given.

Investigators said they possess evidence to prove that the oxygen concentrators, which were bought for 14,000 to 15,000, were being sold for prices upwards of 75,000.

Demand for oxygen concentrators had swelled during the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the national capital with many hospitals running out of medical oxygen as the number of critically ill patients rose. Such concentrators, which can derive 80-90% pure oxygen from ambient air, was also a crucial part of the medical supplies and aids provided by many foreign countries to help India’s efforts against the pandemic.

On Friday, senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vikas Pahwa, who appeared for Kalra, sought interim relief for their client till the matter was heard on Tuesday (May 18). Singhvi argued that this was a case of harassment and punishment cannot be given to a person before fixation of price of an essential commodity.

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. He had said that Kalra sold the equipment within the labelled price that Matrix, which imported the concentrators, had fixed.

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