Oxygen concentrator case: Delhi court reserves order on Navneet Kalra's anticipatory bail plea
A court in Delhi on Wednesday reserved its order on the anticipatory bail plea moved by businessman Navneet Kalra in connection with seizure of oxygen concentrators from his restaurants. The order will be pronounced on Thursday.
The oxygen concentrators, required by Covid-19 patients, were seized from his upscale restaurants.
Additional Session Judge Sandeep Garg reserved the order on the pre-arrest bail for Thursday at 10 am after hearing the arguments of both the prosecution and defense at length.
Kalra has been on the run since the recovery of 524 oxygen concentrators from three of his restaurants - Khan Chacha, Town Hall and Nege & Ju between Wednesday and Friday, according to investigators. He could not be tracked despite raids being conducted in Delhi and in adjoining states such as Uttarakhand, the police said.
Investigators said that they have evidence which shows the oxygen concentrators were bought for ₹14,000-15,000 and sold at ₹70,000-75,000.
During the proceedings, public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava opposed the pre-arrest bail plea and told the court that Kalra's custodial interrogation is required and that bail should not be granted as he is an influential person.
“His intention was to cheat the public at large and wrongfully gain. Had Delhi Police not busted the racket, many people would have been cheated,” the public prosecutor said.
Kalra started the business of oxygen concentrators “out of greed”, Srivastava said, adding that anticipatory or regular bail should not be granted in such white collar crimes.
Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, representing the accused, asked the court how his client can be accused of selling the oxygen concentrators at exorbitant prices, if there is no ceiling price fixed by the government.
The senior advocate emphasised that selective leaks are made by the Delhi Police against Kalra and that he is being made a scapegoat to divert the attention from the "core issues".
The application was first being heard by Additional Sessions Judge Sumit Dass but was then transferred to Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Garg on Wednesday due to change in jurisdiction after the case was transferred to the Crime branch of the Delhi Police.