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No interim protection from arrest to Navneet Kalra- Delhi HC in oxygen concentrator hoarding case

The Delhi High Court declined grant of interim protection from arrest to Navneet Kalra, a businessman and owner of Khan Chacha café, who is alleged to be an accused in the oxygen concentrator hoarding case as the same were recovered and seized from latter’s café.

The bench turned down the request of interim protection put forward by the counsel and granted time to opposition to file a reply.

In the instant case, the Delhi Police had registered a case under Sections 420, 188, 120(B) and 34 of Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 7 of Essential Commodity Act, 1955 against Navneet Kalra for alleged recovery of 500 oxygen concentrators from few restaurants in Delhi.

The counsel contended that an individual could not be punished before fixing the price of an essential commodity. The counsel submitted that unless an order is passed under Section 3(1) of Essential Commodities Act, an individual could not be punished.

The counsel also brought before the court that the act of monitoring the price of a commodity could be initiated before fixing the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the commodity.

The opposition contended that the alleged accused had imported oxygen concentrator machines. To this, the applicant argued that the same were sold off to police officers and donated to COVID care centres.

The applicant counsel also denied the allegation of black marketing and hoarding and submitted before the bench that the said machines had been purchased by an importer and all the related transactions were conducted through legal channels.

The bench, upon hearing the submissions of counsels, asked the applicant to prove that under what capacity he was holding 105 oxygen concentrators. The bench inquired that under what authority an individual without bearing a license could hold oxygen concentrators.

The bench has denied the sought interim protection and adjourned the hearing.

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