A court in Delhi on Thursday rejected the anticipatory bail plea moved by businessman Navneet Kalra in a case related to hoarding of oxygen concentrators at his Delhi restaurant, Live Law reported.

A total of 524 concentrators were seized last week from registered offices and restaurants owned by Kalra in South Delhi’s Khan Market, Lodhi Colony and Chhattarpur area. A first information report was registered and four people – Hitesh Prakash, Gaurav Singh, Satish Sethi and Vikrant Singh – were arrested during the raids. The accused were booked under Indian Penal Code sections of cheating, Essential Commodities Act and Epidemic Diseases Act. However, Kalra has allegedly been on the run since the raids.

On Monday, Kalra had moved the anticipatory bail plea and sought interim relief from coercive action against him. The court had denied a stay on coercive action and asked the Delhi Police to respond to the bail petition.

The hearing on the plea was carried out on Tuesday in a sessions court, which reserved order in the matter on Wednesday, according to Live Law.

Kalra has now moved the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail after the session court rejected it, reported Live Law. Justice Subramonium Prasad will take up the case at 7 pm.

During the sessions court’s proceedings, senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Kalra submitted that the arrest was carried out in a mala fide manner and selling oxygen concentrators in the open market would not amount to black marketing as their prices are not regulated by the government.

Meanwhile, Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava submitted that Kalra was an influential person and it would not be suitable to grant him bail. He pleaded for Kalra’s police custody so that he can be questioned on alleged black marketing of oxygen concentrators.

The national Capital’s healthcare infrastructure has been in shambles ever since the second wave led to an unprecedented rise in daily infections. Multiple hospitals in the city were forced to approach courts to ensure they received supplies of medical oxygen to save lives of Covid-19 patients.

On Thursday, registered 3,62,727 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 2,37,03,665 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. With 4,120 deaths, the toll climbed to 2,58,317. The number of active cases in the country stood at 37,10,525.

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