Two in Delhi arrested for selling fire extinguishers as oxygen cylinders

Published on Apr 30, 2021 03:46 AM IST
In one of the cheating cases, the patient for whom the equipment was procured died of Covid-19, read the complaint lodged by the victim’s acquaintance.
A man waits outside a factory to get his oxygen cylinder refilled, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in New Delhi.(Reuters)
A man waits outside a factory to get his oxygen cylinder refilled, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in New Delhi.(Reuters)
ByShiv Sunny, New Delhi

Two men in west Delhi’s Dwarka were arrested for passing off fire extinguishers as oxygen cylinders and selling them to people, whose relatives have contracted Covid-19, said Delhi Police on Thursday.

In one of the cheating cases, the patient for whom the equipment was procured died of Covid-19, read the complaint lodged by the victim’s acquaintance.

Police could not immediately ascertain if the alleged cheating, or a possible delay in providing relief to the patient, had any direct bearing on the death. However, a relative of Narender, the 32-year-old patient who died, alleged that the delay in getting an oxygen cylinder led to his demise. “Had we not been cheated, my brother-in-law could have survived,” said the relative.

Police said suspects Ashutosh Chauhan and Ayush were rendered jobless during the pandemic and passed off fire extinguishers as oxygen cylinders to make a quick buck. “They sold one such empty cylinder for 10,000,” said Santosh Meena, deputy commissioner of police (Dwarka).

Geeta Arora, a resident of Bindapur in West Delhi, was looking for an oxygen cylinder for her friend’s relative, who lived in Noida. “The relative, a patient of Covid-19, had breathing issues and low oxygen levels. Her family was unable to find her a hospital bed,” said Meena.

After reaching out to many people for a cylinder, Arora finally got in touch with Chauhan and Ayush, who asked her to visit near Uttam Nagar metro station to collect the cylinder on Monday night.

A red coloured cylinder was handed over to Arora in lieu of a payment of 10,000. The same night, Arora handed over the cylinder to the patient’s family in Noida.

The cheating came to the fore when the patient’s family went to get the cylinder filled on Tuesday morning and realized that it was a fire extinguisher. When Arora asked the suspects to return the money, they refused.

On Wednesday, Arora learnt that the patient, for whom the cylinder was purchased passed away, read her statement to the police.

She again pursued the suspects. They allegedly called her near the metro station, but didn’t meet her, despite making her run around for two hours. She finally decided to lodge a complaint, based on which a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy was registered at Uttam Nagar police station.

The DCP said technical surveillance and local enquiry facilitated the arrest of the suspects, from whom they recovered four fire extinguishers.

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