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Concentrator case: Court sends Kalra to 3-day police custody

Police had arrested Kalra on Sunday evening from his brother-in-law’s farmhouse in Gurgaon.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
May 18, 2021 6:18:12 am
Businessman Navneet Kalra was arrested on Sunday. (PTI)

A Delhi court Monday remanded businessman Navneet Kalra, arrested for alleged black marketing of oxygen concentrators along with an international SIM company called Matrix Cellular Services Ltd, to three-day police custody. Police had arrested Kalra on Sunday evening from his brother-in-law’s farmhouse in Gurgaon.

Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava asked Metropolitan Magistrate Archana Beniwal to grant police 5-day custody of Kalra, who owns three restaurants from where police had recovered more than 500 concentrators. Police told the court they have details of 524 out of 748 concentrators and need to recover laptops and other gadgets. There are more things, including the procurement system, that needs to be unearthed, the court was told.

Stating that the “situation is very grave”, Srivastava told the court: “The persons whom they sold (the equipment) were in dire need… Government gave them (accused) liberty to help needy people but they are greedy people. They made huge money.”

The APP further said Kalra had “not surrendered” and that “it was police who arrested him”. “The whole society is looking at the investigating agency and the judiciary in this case,” he said.

Kalra’s lawyer Vineet Malhotra opposed the police remand, and told the court that the remand application was malafide. Malhotra said he himself had purchased an oxygen concentrator and got a call from the Delhi Police asking him to file a complaint stating that the equipment was of bad quality.

Malhotra shared the phone number of the policeman who called him, and told the court, “I had personally purchased the concentrator. I got a call from police that I should file a complaint, saying that the quality of the concentrator was bad… Now they are hounding people to file a case.”

He told the court that police registered the “FIR first and then did the investigation”. “The state should act like a prosecution agency, not a persecution agency. Is this the way the investigating agency is to behave. Nobody is safe,” Malhotra said.

“For what purpose do they need custody? They have the money trail. They can get any information they want from me. Remand for five days custody is absurd,” he said.

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