O2 concentrator case: Navneet Kalra sent to 3 days police custody

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS): A Delhi court on Monday sent businessman Navneet Kalra, who was arrested late on Sunday night, to three days' police custody in connection with oxygen concentrator hoarding case.

Metropolitan Magistrate Archana Beniwal at the Saket district court passed the order after hearing the arguments of Delhi Police and Kalra's lawyers.

The Delhi Police had sought a five-day custody of Kalra for interrogation in connection with alleged black-marketing and hoarding of oxygen concentrators.

Advocate Vineet Malhotra, representing Kalra, had argued that Kalra's custody was not required, as the police have already had his phone and bills of sale of the oxygen concentrators.

Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, however, submitted that Additional Sessions Judge at the Saket Court had earlier held custodial interrogation of Kalra was required, and also the Delhi High Court did not entertain his plea seeking anticipatory bail. He also submitted that the whole society is looking at the investigating agency and the judiciary in this case.

A Delhi High Court bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad had turned down Kalra's plea for anticipatory bail, remarking: "I'm persuaded by the trial court's order. Interim protection cannot be given at this stage."

During the hearing before the magistrate, the Delhi Police said the details in connection with the system of procurement of the oxygen concentrators were yet to be unearthed. The police insisted that for this this purpose, it requires Kalra's custody.

The magistrate noted that the court was of the view that Kalra's custodial interrogation was required for recovery of electronic devices used for the purpose of commission of alleged offences, to recover remaining oxygen concentrators, and to identify victims exploited by him.

The court added that his interrogation is required for detailed investigation "regarding his involvement and connection with Matrix and Classic Metals, the manner of procurement of OCs, for detailed investigation of financial transactions from his firm as well as to identify the other co-accused/ associates involved in the present case".

The court said the accused should be medically examined before production as per rule and be produced on May 20, before the duty metropolitan magistrate concerned.

The south Delhi police arrested Kalra, who was absconding since May 7, from his brother-in-law's farmhouse in Gurugram late Sunday night and handed over him to the Crime Branch, which is probing the matter.

On May 5, a case was registered against Kalra under sections 420 (cheating), 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code as also under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act.

This followed seizure of 524 oxygen concentrators from three restaurants -- Khan Chacha, Nega Ju and Town Hall - owned by Kalra. The case was later transferred to the Delhi Police's Crime Branch.


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