Oxygen Concentrators Hoarding Case: Delhi HC Refuses To Grant Interim Protection To Navneet Kalra

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The Delhi High Court on Friday while holding a special hearing denied interim relief to Navneet Kalra, who is said to be the main accused in the hoarding and black marketing case of oxygen concentrators.

“I’m persuaded by the trial court order that no interim protection can be granted at this stage,” said Justice Subramanium Prasad while posting the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.

During the course of the hearing, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Navneet Kalra told the court that as the matter is being heard, the police is visiting the houses of his client’s relatives in order to hunt him.

Singhvi also said that this case nothing more than that of harassment.

As Singhvi proceeded to argue on the scheme of Drugs Price Control Act saying that the government has not fixed the prices, the court remarked, “The debate here is that number of concentrators have been found with some stickers (showing MRP).”

However, the prosecution through Additional Solicitor General S V Raju told the court that more time is needed to place on record some additional material.

“There are certain shell companies that we have found out. I need time to place the relevant documents on record,” ASG Raju said.

On the point of concentrators being a deficit, the court was informed by Kalra’s counsel told the court, “*To prejudice, the court is being told that the concentrators were spurious and substandard.”

“Some machines I gave to Police.. some machines were donated by State to COVID centres.. now I hope my friend doesn’t want to be prosecuted for donating sub-standard machines,” Singhvi added.

“No oxygen concentrators gives 100%, it can give 60-70 %… They don’t work under ideal conditions,” Singhvi argued.

On Thursday, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju had informed the court that the concentrators being seized from Kalra’s premises were of deficit quality and were being sold at higher prices.

Raju said that while Kalra and the other accused said that they got German collaboration concentrators but the actual state was contrary. “According to WHO guidelines concentrators should have 82% efficacy, the ones seized from them were only 30%,” Raju had told the court during the hearing that had continued till late night.

“These were third-grade Chinese concentrators. We tested these and we were shocked and horrified to see their output,” Raju had argued.

Court had then remarked, “But he is just a seller, he is not the importer, you can’t impute it to him that concentrator is of particular efficacy.”

Responding to the same, ASG had said, “You must test your machine.. we are still investigating. Whether he is in conspiracy with the importer. I don’t at this stage see any distinction between them. Importers machines are stored at his place.”

Raju had further stated that it is yet to be ascertained if someone died after using these concentrators. “It can be a case of murder or culpable homicide, we are still to unearth this,” Raju argued

The court had yesterday also posed a tough question to Kalra’s counsel as to when he is neither the manufacturer nor the importer, why were 105 concentrators were with him.

“The point is Khan Chacha having 100s of concentrators is itself clandestine, if you had to sell, sell it at a Pharma shop,” the court had said.

The court will now hear the matter on Tuesday and while Kalra remains to be on the run, no relief has been granted.

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