A court in Delhi on Saturday granted bail to businessman Navneet Kalra, who is accused of black marketing and selling oxygen concentrators at an exorbitant rate amid the coronavirus crisis, Bar and Bench reported.
On May 7, the Delhi Police had seized 524 oxygen concentrators from Khan Chacha, Town Hall and Nege & Ju restaurants owned by Kalra during a raid. He was picked up from Gurugram on May 16 and formally arrested the next day.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg said there was no purpose in keeping him in further custody. “...the right to bail is not to be denied to the accused merely because sentiments of the community are against the accused,” the court said. The judge also added in his order that “bail is a rule and committal to jail is an exception”.
Garg granted bail to Kalra subject to furnishing two surety bonds and a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each.
Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, representing the Delhi Police, opposed this and told the court that the businessman committed a “white-collar crime” by selling the medical devices at high prices, according to PTI. “Cheating in normal days is cheating,” he added. “In these circumstances, the gravity has increased...their intention was to cheat and make profit.”
Kalra’s lawyers Vikas Pahwa and Vineet Malhotra dismissed the submissions and claimed that their client was being made a scapegoat in the case. They added that he had no intent to cheat others as he sold the oxygen concentrators to only help family and friends.
The court told Shrivastava that the case was primarily based upon the documentary evidence, which had been seized. It asked Kalra not to contact the customers to whom he had sold the concentrators, not to tamper with evidence and join the investigation as and when called by the police.
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. The Enforcement Directorate has also registered a money laundering case against Kalra and his accomplices.