A Delhi court has granted bail to businessman Navneet Kalra in the oxygen concentrator black marketing case. Kalra was arrested on May 17 for allegedly hoarding oxygen concentrators and selling them at inflated prices. Chief metropolitan magistrate Arun Kumar Garg directed the accused not to contact the customers to whom he had sold the concentrators, not to tamper with evidence or influence the witnesses, and join the investigation as and when called by the police, news agency PTI reported.
During a recent raid, 524 oxygen concentrators, which are a crucial medical equipment used for COVID-19 patients, were recovered from Khan Chacha, Town Hall, and Nege & Ju restaurants owned by Kalra. Opposing the bail plea, the Delhi police said that Kalra committed a white-collar crime and earned profits by selling medical devices at exorbitant prices to those on death beds,
“His intention was to cheat people and make profit. This is a white-collar crime. He sold oxygen concentrators to needy people lying on death beds,” additional public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, representing the Delhi Police, told the court and sought rejection of Kalra’s bail plea. Srivastava said that if released on bail, Navneet Kalra would tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses.
“Justice Subramonium Prasad did not grant him relief. He still did not surrender. He was hiding himself. He was not the one who came.. this has given a bad name to society.. the bail should be rejected,” Shrivastava concluded, according to Bar and Bench
The remarks by the Delhi Police came a day after Kalra, through senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, told the court that he had no criminal intent to cheat people and cannot be kept in pre-trial detention. During the course of the proceedings on Saturday, the prosecutor showed Kalra’s oxygen concentrator brochures to the court, and said they were not premium or from Germany as claimed by the accused.
“Its flow was also below 35 per cent, and he sold it for more than Rs 70,000 as against the MRP of Rs 27,999,” he added.
On Kalra’s contentions that he was merely helping those in need, the prosecutor said, “He was not doing any charity. If he had sold them at the cost price, it would have been a charity but he took a margin.”