After the Delhi High Court on Friday denied interim relief to Navneet Kalra, the prime accused in the Delhi oxygen concentrator black marketing case — the Delhi Police on Sunday evening arrested Kalra from his relative’s farmhouse. Kalra’s arrest comes after Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi mounted a spirited defence to secure an anticipatory bail for his client, only to get outrightly rejected by the court.
Apparently, Delhi Police searched the farmhouse after they found that Kalra’s brother-in-law, who visited the property once a month earlier, suddenly visited thrice in the last 10 days. While Kalra immediately went into hiding when the racket was exposed on May 5 by switching off his cell phone, the police in its investigation found that Kalra had made multiple calls to two IPS officers, including a former Delhi Police Commissioner and a senior IAS officer.
Despite the circumstantial evidence pointing to Kalra’s heavy involvement in the black marketing of life-saving medical equipment, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi took up the case.
During the court hearing last Friday, Singhvi argued that punishment cannot be given to a person before fixation on the price of an essential commodity, according to a Live Law report.
Singhvi further argued that it is not the job of the police to try and prove the Anticipatory Bail to be infructuous before the court and that they have found today morning at the break of the dawn, that Delhi Police’s SI with others were visiting the house of Kalra’s relatives.
“They are visiting the house of brother in law of the accused. His father in law is separately being paid courtesy calls. The job of the police, influenced by the press, is not this. Today morning SI goes there, Mr. Raju is now asking for time,” Singhvi argued.
Oxygen Concentrators Hoarding Case: #DelhiPolice today arrested businessman #NavneetKalra, accused in connection with the recovery and seizure of #Oxygen Concentrators by the Delhi Police (source – The Indian Express) pic.twitter.com/iLL8fBrN7R
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) May 16, 2021
Denying the allegations of black marketing and hoarding, Singhvi submitted before the Court that the oxygen concentrators were purchased by the importer namely Matrix Services Limited and that the same was done through proper legal channels including GST payments.
While Singhvi advocated for Kalra’s release, BJP Leader and MP Meenakshi Lekhi claimed that Kalra has strong connections with Congress leaders. Lekhi remarked that Kalra was given the membership of Golf Club — one of the most premium clubs in the national capital, by Congress leader Ajay Maken when he was the urban development minister in the UPA-I government.
Lekhi further added that Kalra’s Facebook page shows his pictures with Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
With further seizure of 105 #OxygenConcentrator from Khan Chacha & Town Hall, 2 upscale restaurants in Khan Mkt, total 524 seized frm #blackmarketers Owner Navneet Kalra, also owns Dayal Opticals, is on run. Manager, 3 staffers arrested by #DelhiPolice SouthDist. Further raids on https://t.co/axlGhatoa8 pic.twitter.com/fE9E9oF3rM
— #DilKiPolice Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) May 7, 2021
As reported by TFI previously, according to the invoices, each Oxygen concentrator had been procured in bulk from China and Hong Kong for not more than Rs 14,000 – Rs 16,000 and was being sold in India between Rs 50,000- Rs 70,000. Nearly 5,000 such Oxygen concentrators were sold in April 2021, and another 1,800 in May at the hiked prices, as Kalra made a monstrous profit.
Navneet Kalra’s arrest is expected to bust the case wide open as names of influential political leaders who had provided their alleged backing to Kalra might come out in the open. The fact that Congress leaders were advocating rather fervently for Kalra’s release, does raise some eyebrows.