IMAGE: REPUBLIC WORLD COMPOSITE
Businessman Navneet Kalra who is one of the accused in the Khan Market racket is on the run with his family in two luxury cars without any driver. The Delhi police are on the lookout for Kalra who runs the popular Townhall Restaurant and is also the owner of many other restaurants in Delhi. Apart from being a businessman, Kalra is known to be a socialist who has been seen flashing photos with popular celebrities and cricketers.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic when the Disaster Management Act is in effect and medical resources are proving to be scare due to the alarming surge of patients affected due to COVID-19, a corruption racket was being run where oxygen concentrators were being sold three to four times more the cost to people in dire need of the essential medical machine which is used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
As per the invoices, each Oxygen concentrator that had been procured in bulk for not more than Rs 14,000 to Rs 16,000 from Hong Kong and China was being sold in India between Rs 50,000- Rs 70,000. Nearly 5,000 such Oxygen concentrators were sold in April 2021, and another 1,800 in May at the hiked prices.
The Delhi Police has also conducted raids at London-based businessman Gaggan Duggal's farmhouses at Fatehpur Beri and Sainik Farms. As per sources, as many as 650 Oxygen concentrators were issued in the name of Duggal who allegedly took restauranteur Navneet Kalra's help in peddling them via restaurants in the Khan market amid the Oxygen crisis. The latest intel had reported his whereabouts in Uttarakhand.
On Friday, the Delhi Police said they conducted raids at two upscale restaurants and recovered 105 oxygen concentrators used in the treatment of COVID patients. According to the police, 96 oxygen concentrators were recovered from Khan Chacha Restaurant and nine were seized from Town Hall restaurant, both situated in the Khan Market area. The recovery of over 100 oxygen concentrators came after the arrest of four men from a restaurant-cum-bar in south Delhi's Lodhi Colony area on Wednesday who was allegedly involved in hoarding and black marketing oxygen concentrators, police said. After the arrest of the four men, the police had recovered 419 oxygen concentrators that were meant to be sold in the black market.
"During interrogation, one accused (Hitesh) had disclosed that they had stored some more oxygen concentrators at restaurants situated in the Khan Market area, following which a police team conducted a raid on Thursday night at Townhall Restaurant and recovered nine oxygen concentrators.
"The accused also told the police that more oxygen concentrators had been kept at Khan Chacha restaurant. The team conducted another raid and recovered 96 concentrators from Khan Chacha restaurant. With this, a total of 524 oxygen concentrators have been recovered so far," Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Atul Kumar Thakur said.
An investigation into the case has revealed that a mobile application named X-Factor made by Matrix Cellular was allegedly used to take orders. As per the investigation, orders were initially allegedly taken through the X Factor application following which orders from other sources including social media were accepted. Delhi Police has arrested the Matrix Travel Companion's CEO Gaurav Khanna in the scam. Matrix Cellular Services moved the Delhi High Court on Saturday demanding the seized oxygen concentrators to be returned. The Company said it is pained by the insinuations of engaging in black marketing or hoarding of oxygen concentrators. The Company asserted it would 'fiercely contest' the baseless allegations.
It all started on Thursday when the Delhi Police had seized 532 fire extinguishers and iron gas cylinders of different sizes, 26 oxygen gas cylinder nozzles, two electric grinders used to remove the red paint of the cylinders, three silver colour spray-paint cans, one black paint box, one paint-brush, one pipe-wrench, in an effort to sell them as Oxygen cylinders. Over 300 FIRs have been registered in the case.