This Case Summary & Timeline on Navneet Kalra Case is written by Kartikay Jain. He is pursuing Law from Amity Law school, Amity university, Noida; and is Legal Content Writer & Judgement Updates Editor at Legal Thirst.
The Case begins from Delhi Police Raid on 7th of May, 2021; during amid of COVID-19 second wave.
The Delhi police conducted two raids on 7 May at 2 restaurants in the national capital of Delhi; and recovered over 100 oxygen concentrators used for treatment of covid positive patients. According to the police, 96 oxygen concentrators were recovered from KHAN CHACHA restaurant; and 9 oxygen concentrators were recovered from TOWN HALL restaurant both situated in KHAN MARKET AREA. The recovery of these oxygen concentrators comes after the arrest of 4 men on 5 May; who were Gaurav, Satish, Vikrant and Hitesh from Lodhi colony allegedly indulging in black marketing of oxygen concentrators. Hitesh disclosed the location of these two restaurants.
The owner of these two restaurants is Navneet Kalra and his involvement is being investigated.
Police also conducted a raid in another restaurant NEGE JU RESTAURANT AND BAR on 5 May and recovered 32 Boxes of oxygen concentrators, 1 Box of Thermal Scanner and 1 Box containing N-95 masks. A man was also found taking online orders for these medical equipment. During interrogation the accused also disclosed the location of the warehouse in Chhatarpur where 387 more concentrators were found. Invoice of these equipment was also recovered and a price tag displaying an amount of 69999 Rupees per concentrator was also recovered.
A senior police officer said that the case of black marketing and hoarding of 524 oxygen concentrators has been transferred to Delhi police crime branch. Total 524 seized oxygen concentrators from black marketer Navneet Kalra is on the run. He is the owner of all three restaurants and has switched off his phone, absconding.
Initial probe and analysis of documents and invoices seized by Delhi police in the case of black marketing of 500 oxygen concentrators; have shown that between 17 April and may 3, Navneet Kalra and his aides from MATRIX CELLULAR procured 7500 concentrators worth 13 crores. In April around 5200 concentrators were delivered by Kalra; and his team in which 1900 concentrators were sold in the first 3-4 days of May. A senior police officer said that it is clear that these concentrators were bought; between a price range of 14000-24000; and were being sold at a shocking amount of 70000 each in these difficult times.
The procurement done through matrix cellular was done with help from an import agency whose employees have also been questioned. Matrix CEO who was arrested in the case has claimed that transactions were legitimate and done through online payments. The police filed an FIR under IPC sections resulting in cheating, violating public order and criminal conspiracy apart from sections of Epidemic Diseases act and Essential Commodities Act.
A Delhi court on Monday refused to grant any stay on coercive action against Navneet kalra; who was accused in the black marketing case of oxygen concentrators. Kalra is now seeking an anticipatory bail in the case; against whom the Delhi police crime branch ordered a manhunt. During the court proceedings, the Public prosecutor also opposed the pre arrest application and also said that; “this is a case of crime branch, is this a suitable court for it in the light of jurisdiction”.
The accused’s counsel Malhotra told the court that his client is being hounded and sought an anticipatory bail. He also questioned the invoking of sections of the Essential Commodities Act as oxygen concentrators are not considered as Essential Commodities. He further stated that all the transactions of the articles of oxygen concentrators that have been imported are made through legal banking channels and there is not a single article being illegally imported. Also the government has not set the price for oxygen concentrators, therefore there is no question of back marketing.
The matter was adjourned after court directed the police to file a reply on Navneet Kalra’s anticipatory bail. “Simple Adjournment, No Stay”, the court said.
A Delhi court on Tuesday refused to give any interim relief to Navneet Kalra for the second time in the alleged black marketing of oxygen concentrators.
Additional Sessions Judge Sumit Dass also placed his anticipatory bail before district and sessions judge which will now which court will hear his plea. The court was hearing the arguments over the jurisdiction on the anticipatory bail filed by Navneet. The public prosecutor said that; “since the case has been transferred to crime branch, the court has no jurisdiction over it.”
However Advocate Malhotra representing the accused told the court that “FIR has been registered at Lodhi garden police station and therefore the court has the jurisdiction over it no matter if investigation is being transferred or not”.
A Delhi sessions court reserved its order on the anticipatory bail plea of Navneet Kalra; after hearing arguments of accused’s Lawyer Vikas Pahwa and Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava.
Pahwa submitted that “these concentrators are not for cosmetic use, not for luxury; it is only for when someone is dying or medically unfit. When selling it through banking channels where is the offence?”; Pahwa said. According to Pahwa, Kalra was being made a scapegoat for the core issues in the society.
The counsel also argued that if allegations were to be believed it could only be an offence under Consumer Protection Act not under sections of IPC.
Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava argued that the crime branch has not shared anything with the media; Prosecutor Atul also relied on a report that demonstrated that oxygen concentrators were of poor quality with a working capacity of 20 percent.
Police have also alleged that “through social media posts, Kalra had collected advance payments; and kept postponing the delivery of these concentrations in order to sell them at higher price; nor refunded their amount and is now absconding”.
A Delhi court on 13 May refused to grant anticipatory bail to Navneet Kalra in connection of the black marketing of oxygen concentrators.
On Wednesday, the court had reserved the order after hearing arguments from the accused’s counsel and public prosecutor; but on Thursday additional sessions judge Sandeep Garg said,
“Application is Dismissed”.
It is suspected that he has left Delhi along with his family.
The Delhi high court refused to grant any interim protection from arrest to Navneet Kalra; agreeing with reasons of the trial court while denying him the relief. “I am persuaded by the reasons given by the trial court; which is a valid reason for me not to grant any interim protection from the arrest”; Justice Subramanium Prasad said while listing the matter for hearing on 18 May.
A sessions court on Thursday rejected his anticipatory bail plea; saying the allegations against him were serious and custodial interrogation was required to “unearth the entire conspiracy”.
These observations came after the accused’s counsel urged the High Court to grant any interim protection; if the case was going to be heard on 18 May on the request of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S.V. Raju.
The Delhi police arrested Navneet Kalra for alleged black marketing; and hoarding of oxygen concentrators amid the coronavirus pandemic. The accused had been on the run since the raid on his restaurants, warehouse etc. The concentrator is a crucial medical equipment during this pandemic; and in high demand in this second wave of coronavirus. The Delhi police also sought a 5 day custody of Navneet Kalra from the court for interrogation. Metropolitan magistrate Archana Beniwal will decide on the police’s plea seeking custody of Navneet Kalra.
The enforcement directorate on Friday raided premises of Navneet Kalra; and his associates linked to the Black Marketing of oxygen concentrators; officials said that the raid is being conducted at around 14-15 locations in national capital under the provisions of prevention of money laundry act. At a location 151 bottles of Whiskey were also found.
The enforcement directorate recently booked Kalra and others under Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Kalra denied any wrongdoing and claimed that these concentrators were kept for regular use. He was sent to 14 day Judicial Custody by a local court on Thursday.
The central probe agency has widened the radius of raids being conducted by crime branch as it suspects that around 7000 concentrators were transacted between Navneet and import agency in this second wave of coronavirus. The officials also told that they will probe if oxygen concentrators were hoarded illegally and sold to unfit patients or covid positive patients, thereby leading to a generation of “Proceeds of Crime” as defined under provisions of money laundering act.
A Delhi court on Saturday rejected police’s plea of getting 4-5 days of custody of Navneet Kalra; in connection of black marketing of oxygen concentrators. After hearing arguments from police and accused’s counsel, the duty magistrate said “Police custody is not warranted”.
A Delhi court on Tuesday adjourned to may 28 hearing the bail application of Navneet Kalra in case of black marketing of oxygen concentrators. Metropolitan Magistrate Swati Sharma deferred the case hearing to 28 May after the accused’s counsel sought adjournment. The court had already adjourned the hearing of bail plea twice in this month, May 20 and 22.
Chief metropolitan magistrate Arun Kumar Garg was hearing the plea for bail application of Navneet Kalra; who has been accused of black marketing of oxygen concentrators. Kalra through his counsel told the court that “I had no intention to cheat people; the government also benefited from this transaction by receiving GST; I paid income tax”.
The lawyer added “My invoices and concentrators are with the police; no recoveries are to be made against me. I cannot be put on Pre-Trial Detention”.
Further his counsel said that Kalra traded the oxygen concentrators at a lower price than online sites selling these items; merely to help family and friends. The lawyer also sought bail on the grounds of parity as 5 co-accused have been already released on bail; further refuting allegations of black marketing.
On the allegation of poor working capacity, Kalra said; “concentrators are not substandard; if they are substandard then why police gave them to covid camps”. Counsel also added that Salman khan also bought the same concentrators. “My client sold 100 of the concentrators and received many messages thanking him”.
The court will now hear the arguments of the public prosecutor on the bail application on saturday.
During the course of hearing bail plea; the public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava representing the Delhi police told the court that Navneet Kalra committed a white-collar crime; and made profits by selling the oxygen concentrators to those who were on death bed.
Kalra’s lawyers opposed the statement of the police and said that their client is just being made a scapegoat; and had no intent to cheat people as he sold the concentrators to merely help family and friends.
The Delhi court granted Navneet Kalra’s bail application on 29 May in the case of black marketing of oxygen concentrators. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg has directed Navneet Kalra not to contact any of the customers to whom he sold the concentrators; not to tamper with the evidence or influence the witness; and join the investigation when called by the police.
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