Navneet Kalra, Gagan Duggal imported 7000 oxygen concentrators from China: ED
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday raided the premises of businessmen -- Navneet Kalra and Gagan Duggal - - in connection with its money laundering probe into alleged hoarding and black marketing of oxygen concentrators, people familiar with the development said.
Among the places raided include their residences at Mandi Road at South Delhi’s Mehrauli, Kalra’s restaurants – Khan Chacha, Town Hall, and Nega & Ju as well as Dayal Opticals in upscale Khan Market, officials said. A team separately searched Kalra’s bank lockers.
From Kalra’s residence, the ED team recovered 150 foreign brand liquor bottles, officials told HT.
The agency said that UK-based businessman Gagan Duggal – managing director of Matrix Cellular International Services Limited (Matrix), was working with Kalra in importing the concentrators to India and selling them at inflated prices.
ED’s probe, according to the two officials cited above, has revealed that both Kalra and Duggal had imported more than 7,000 oxygen concentrators from China in the past one month and sold them to people at exorbitant prices by claiming that the concentrators were made with German technology.
“The forensic examination of the concentrators has revealed that they were low quality equipment. Kalra and Duggal bought these in China and the same were routed to India via Hong Kong,” said the first officer, who didn’t want to be named.
The ED probe has further revealed that the import price per unit of oxygen concentrator for Kalra and Duggal was ₹15,000 but they were charging ₹69,999 per unit from people. “The duo took advantage of a raging pandemic and made huge profit by cheating the public,” said another ED officer, who also requested anonymity.
The agency had registered a case earlier this week to investigate the money trail of sale and purchase of oxygen concentrators and beneficiaries of hoarded concentrators. The federal anti-money laundering probe agency has powers to attach properties if established that money made by the accused is proceeds of crime.
Kalra’s dramatic arrest from a farmhouse in Gurugram took place on Sunday even as lawyers were trying to obtain an anticipatory bail for him from the Delhi high court throughout the week. He is currently in judicial custody.
He was being looked for 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.
Duggal’s company – Matrix – had issued a statement after Delhi Police action stating that – “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 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. 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,” the company had stated.
“Matrix has filed documents before the Delhi High Court that prove the allegations of exorbitant pricing and deficient quality of oxygen concentrators is misplaced and incorrect. Matrix unequivocally denies any wrongdoing in the matter. The matter is currently before the Courts and Matrix has faith that the legal process will vindicate it,” Samudra Sarangi, lead counsel for Matrix said.
Kalra’s counsel - Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa didn’t comment on the matter.