Delhi court grants bail to Navneet Kalra accused of Black Marketing Oxygen Concentrators

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The court in its order stated that this case is primarily based upon the documentary evidence and since “all relevant documents have already been seized by the IO from the possession/at the instance of accused, there is no substance in the plea of State that accused may temper with the evidence.”

“Even otherwise, the said apprehension of the prosecution, regarding tempering of evidence by the accused, may be allayed by imposing appropriate condition upon the accused at the time of grant of bail that he shall not temper with the evidence,” the order read.
The court said that “similarly, there is no material supporting the bald averment of the prosecution that accused may influence the witnesses being influential.”

“Merely because the accused did not join investigation pending adjudication of his anticipatory bail applications, in the absence of any interim protection by the superior courts, does not mean that he should be denied bail on the said ground alone since the accused had been taking recourse to the legal remedies available to him,” the order read.

The court also clarified that nothing expressed in the order “shall tantamount to an opinion on merits of the case.”

Opposing businessman Navneet Kalra’s bail application, the Delhi Police has told a Delhi court that his bail must be rejected as he has “ruined the name of our society”.

Seeking rejection of Kalra’s bail plea, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava, who represented the Delhi Police, said, “He did not surrender at the time the high court was hearing the case. He was hiding. He was arrested from Gurugram. Considering the situation, he has ruined the name of our society also. For this reason, the bail should be rejected.”

Srivastava told the court that Kalra was cheating customers by representing that his life-saving equipment were of high quality while two law reports have shown that they were not. “You have kept all these products at Khan Chacha (a restaurant in Delhi). You have no quality control management. You’ve not employed any person. You’ve not ensured any quality check. That too in a situation where purchasers are on death bed just for making money. Isn’t it cheating?”

“It is useless and as good as a dabba. People were on deathbed. The GOI says that using these on mild and moderate persons will cause them harm,” Srivastava added.

Srivastava told the court, “WHO guidelines says that the oxygen level must be more than 30% in concentrators. Charity is not done at the cost of some money. He is not doing any charity. Had you sold it on a cost price, it would have been charity. But they sold it at a much higher price.”

Shrivastava further told the court, “What is cheating? Here, it’s not premium, not having any connection with Germany. Flow is not there and is not fit for use for even one person.”

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, who represented Kalra, rebutted the APP’s arguments and told the court, “The first argument made was that there was a representation on the app showing the products to be from Germany. But the representation was of August, 2020. The sale was in May 2021.”

Pahwa asked the court if Kalra could be held responsible for a representation made in August, 2020 when his interaction with the importer Matrix was in May 2021.

On the issue of a letter written about the low quality of equipment supplied by Kalra, Pahwa told the court, “For opposing my bail, they said yes, they have a duty. But no efforts have been made by them to remove the concentrators from Covid centres. This letter is just an eyewash. If Delhi Police is a responsible authority, why haven’t they written to the GOI that these oxygen concentrators are harmful and shouldn’t be imported?”

Rebutting the Additional Public Prosecutor’s submission on the AIIMS report stating that Kalra sold sub-standard equipment, Pahwa told the court, “The report of AIIMS is an eyewash. If you give an erroneous report to someone, erroneous results will come. Garbage in, garbage out is what we’ve learnt in computers. AIIMS report shows that they have relied on Shri Ram Laboratory report. They haven’t seen the concentrators.”

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