O2 black marketing case: Delhi court junks police plea seeking five-day custody of Navneet Kalra

New Delhi : A Delhi court on Saturday dismissed a plea by police seeking five more days of custodial interrogation of businessman and restaurateur Navneet Kalra who is under arrest for allegedly black-marketing oxygen concentrators.

Kalra, who was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhra Azad virtually from Mandoli jail told the court that Police have also got concentrators from him and that it was because of his timely intervention ‘many lives were saved.’

“I am not manufacturer or importer of these machines. I have so many messages saying machines bought from me saved lives. I also replaced machines in three or four cases when it was pointed out that they were defective,” he said.

He also told the court that he is being implicated in the case because ‘he is famous.’

Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, appearing on behalf of Delhi police, sought Kalra’s custody because he is to be confronted with mobile data, bank details, and certain persons to unearth the nexus.

Advocate Vineet Malhotra appearing for Kalra opposed the plea of Delhi Police seeking further police custody and said Kalra was fully cooperating in the investigation.

The Court eventually proceeded to decline the plea for further police custody and posted Kalra’s bail application for hearing next Tuesday.

On Friday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had conducted raids at 13 premises linked to Kalra and another businessman Gagan Duggal.

The duo had imported more than 7,000 oxygen concentrators from China in the past month and sold them at exorbitant rates, according to the investigators.

In an earlier raid, 524 oxygen concentrators, required by COVID-19 patients, recovered from three of his restaurants – Khan Chacha, Town Hall, and Nege & Ju, according to investigators.

Police said that they have evidence that shows the oxygen concentrators were bought for Rs 14,000-15,000 and sold at Rs 70,000-75,000.

Kalra has been charged under Section 420 (cheating), 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, Essential Commodities Act, and Epidemic Diseases Act.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also registered a money laundering case against him.

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