india

Kalra quizzed about faulty oxygen concentrators

Crime Branch seizes two phones allegedly used by accused to contact customers

The Delhi police on Wednesday took Navneet Kalra, arrested for alleged hoarding and black marketing of oxygen concentrators, to the farmhouse in Gurugram where he was hiding while evading arrest. The police also questioned him about the poor quality of oxygen concentrators that was supplied to customers by him.

“We asked them what action he had taken when buyers raised questions over the quality of oxygen concentrators, did he initiated any refund. He remained reluctant to answers these questions,” said a police officer.

The Crime Branch has seized two mobile phones from the businessman, sources said on Wednesday.

Mr. Kalra was nabbed from Gurugram on Sunday night and was formally arrested on Monday. He was on the run for over a week since the seizure of more than 500 oxygen concentrators from Khan Chacha, Town Hall, and Nega & Ju restaurants owned by him.

“The Crime Branch team probing the case has seized two cell phones from Kalra which have been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for further examination. He has used these phone to approach customers while selling oxygen concentrators,” the sources said.

As part of the investigation, the Crime Branch took Mr. Kalra to three restaurants in Delhi in connection with the case on Tuesday.

An officer said Mr. Kalra was taken to Khan Chacha, Townhall, and Nege Ju restaurants from where the concentrators were recovered. He was also taken for the mandatory medical examination, the police said.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to direct an expeditious decision on a bail plea filed by Kalra, a day after a city court remanded him to three days’ police custody.

The police have said that the concentrators seized from Kalra’s restaurants were imported from China and were being sold at an exorbitant price of Rs 50,000 to 70,000 a piece as against its cost of Rs 16,000 to Rs 22,000.

Oxygen concentrators are crucial medical equipment used for COVID-19 patients and are on high demand amid the second wave of the pandemic.

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

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