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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Oxygen hoarding case: Delhi court junks police plea for Navneet Kalra’s custody; he says ‘saved many lives’

Kalra had told the court that he had himself sold oxygen concentrators to policemen and that it was because of his timely intervention many lives were saved. 

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: May 23, 2021 12:15:23 pm
oxygen concentrators black. marketing, navneet Kalra oxygen concentrators seized, Delhi Police, covid 19, indian expressChief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg will pronounce the order on Navneet Kalra’s bail application at 4 pm on Saturday. (File Photo)

A Delhi court has rejected further police remand of businessman Navneet Kalra who is under arrest for allegedly black-marketing oxygen concentrators.

Kalra had appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhra Azad through video conference and told the court that he had himself sold oxygen concentrators to policemen and that it was because of his timely intervention many lives were saved.

“All the police guys have got it from me. I have got so many messages that because of my timely help their family members were saved. My (bank) account is only one. All my transactions have come from customers. They are giving the impression that I have got 23 accounts. I am not the manufacturer of these machines. I have also changed the machines of some people also” Kalra told the court.

Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava who appeared on behalf of the State told the court that Kalra has to be confronted with customers, who were tracked on WhatsApp, alleging that Kalra sold them oxygen concentrators which were of no use. He told the court that an AIIMs report has also been filed in which it is stated that the equipment sold by Kalra was of “no use to Covid patients”.

The APP also told the court that one importer from Classic Metals, who earlier had Covid, has joined the investigation on Friday and Kalra has to be confronted with him.

The APP also told the court that Kalra was cooperating with the investigation, however, they wanted his further custody for investigating his mobile phone devices and some entries made in his diary for which his Chartered Accountant’s presence was also required.

Kalra’s lawyer Vineet Malhotra opposed the police remand and told the court that the prosecution in this country has to be fair and “not adversarial”.

“When they recovered these concentrators. They had given to Covid care centres themselves. These same (model) concentrators have been bought by Salman Khan (Bollywood actor). I have never made any representations about the concentrators being German,” Malhotra told the court when he was addressing allegations that the concentrators were of sub standard quality.

Malhotra told the court that, “He has been made a scapegoat unnecessarily… Persons who have imported are holy angels. Person who bought one percent is implicated.”

Earlier, a Delhi court Thursday dismissed an application by police seeking five-day custody of Kalra observing “the courts of law are not expected to be carried away by the public sentiment”.

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