Businessman Navneet Kalra has been granted bail by a Delhi court. Delhi police accused him of black-marketing and selling low-quality oxygen concentrators at high prices to patients.
Delhi police, in its raids, recovered 524 oxygen concentrators from Khan Chacha, Town Hall, and Nege & Ju restaurants owned by Mr. Navneet Kalra and said they were being sold at exorbitant prices.
On May 5, a case was registered against Mr. Navneet Kalra under Section 420 (cheating), 188 (disobedience to order enforced by public servant), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, Essential Commodities Act and Epidemic Diseases Act.
Delhi police, after a long search operation, arrested Kalra from Gurgaon on May 16.
The court, in its order, granted relief to Mr. Navneet Kalra by citing the reason that most of the case is mainly based on documentary evidence. Since all the documents are with the police, no ground exists for not granting bail to Mr. Kalra. There is no substance in the plea that the accused may tamper with the evidence.
The court, while granting bail, stipulated certain conditions such as the accused shall not try to influence witnesses, contact customers he sold the concentrators to, and join the probe as and when directed by the investigating officer.
He was asked to give two surety bonds and a personal bond of one lakh rupee each.
Senior advocate stated the police had filed a false FIR against Kalra and tried to persuade the buyers to file complaints against him. He further stated till now that no buyer has filed any case against Mr. Kalra.
The defense counsel said most of the concentrators were sold by Mr. Navneet Kalra below MRP, and only 5-10 units were sold at Rs 7,000-10,000 above MRP to provide some customers warranty as the company was not providing any such warranty.
He also said that if the concentrators were not up to the mark, why they were released from custody and sent to hospitals and Covid care centers.
The prosecution contended that the bail could not be granted at this stage. He further said the accused was trying to make a profit by selling sub-standard concentrators at high prices to the public.
Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava submitted that this case could not be considered a normal case of cheating because it is done when most peoples are dying due to the non-availability of oxygen.
He further submitted that it had been opined by the expert committee of doctors of AIIMS, Delhi and Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that the concentrators which were being sold by the accused were not only useless for Covid patients but could also have caused harm.
Srivastava further said, “WHO guidelines says that oxygen level must be more than 30% in concentrators. Charity is not done at the cost of some money. He is not doing any charity. Had you sold it at a cost price, it would have been charity. However, they sold it at a much higher price.”