Delhi Court Reserves Order In The Anticipatory Bail Plea Of Navneet Kalra, Prime Accused In Hoarding And Blackmarketing Of Oxygen Concentrators

  • Sakshi Shukla
  • 07:07 PM, 12 May 2021

Additional Sessions Judge, South East Delhi, reserved the orders in Anticipatory Bail plea by Navneet Kalra, prime accused in hoarding and black marketing of Oxygen Concentrators in the National Capital.

The matter was heard by Shri Sandeep Garg, Learned ASJ, South East District.

Petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa and Advocate Vineet Malhotra.

Public Prosecutor, Anil Shrivastava represented the State.

Senior Counsel, at the outset, submitted that Innocent until proven guilty is the cardinal principle of Criminal Jurisprudence which seems to have derogated blatantly in the present case. It was followed by legal submissions;

(1) No ceiling has been set by the Government for sale of medical devices such as Oxygen Concentrators, therefore no question of selling at ‘exorbitant price’ arises; Reference is made to the Drug Price Control Order of 2013.

(2) There was no Black Marketing as all transactions were conducted through legal channels, consideration accepted through banking mode, all informed to the Government by making GST payments.

(3) There is no explanation as to why the petitioner is required for a custodial interrogation. Reliance in this regard was placed on Supreme Court Judgment in Decongestion of Jails, where the Court allowed to release 7500 prison inmates without going into the merits of the case. Para 9 of Arnesh Kumar was further referred.

(4) Procedure under CrPC was clarified to submit that notices under Section 91 and 41 could have been issued before proceeding to Arrest the other accused in the matter.

(5) None of the Ingredients of Section 415, 420 IPC were made out against the accused as there was no inducement, no wrongful gain, involved in the entire process; “All these offences require an element of Mens Rea...I have myself stated my account number in the application to SHO, I have informed the Police about everything by myself, where is the Mala Fide?”

(6) There is no Aggrieved Party in the present case; it is the petitioner himself who approached the Police apprehending black marketing at the end of one, Mr. Sujeet, who had contacted the petitioner to procure a concentrator citing ill health of his mother.

Submissions were further made on Media Trial, placing reliance on Dr. Naresh Kumar Mangla v. Anita Agarwal, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1031, Para 10 of MP Lohia v. State of West Bengal and Nilesh Navlakha Case (2021).

Concluding his submissions, Senior Counsel deposed that the petitioner is ready and willing to cooperate in every way possible, with the investigating agency and the Court may impose any condition, which it may deem fit.

Learned Public Prosecutor (PP), Shri Anil Shrivastava submitted that the Petitioner is an influential person and that in itself is sufficient to deny his application for Anticipatory Bail.

It was added that the App used for effecting the entire transaction, displaying transaction prices, was an inducement to people who are struggling with the lives of their loved ones. Further, given to the present times of COVID, it is not possible to travel and interrogate at length, therefore custodial interrogation would help in such a situation.

Learned PP continued to submit that the letter to SHO was fabricated and no such PS existed. Moreover, reliance was placed on notification dated February 11, 2020 by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which enlisted life saving devices, such as concentrators in the present case, as a part of Essential Commodities Act.

To rebut the argument of not having any aggrieved party, thereby causing no wrongful loss, learned PP placed reliance on the case of Tulsiram v. State of UP, AIR 1963 SC 666.

It was also contended by the State that the present case falls under Section 120B where two companies have conspired together with the Accused to indulge in black marketing of medical equipments devised to save lives.

 In his response to the arguments advanced by the Learned PP, Senior Counsel categorically said, “Conducting business in Life saving drugs is not an offence. All arguments made by my friend is speculative in nature with no evidence in hand. Sale by App is to ensure that it is not done in a clandestine manner and the argument that the App in itself is inducement is completely vague and fallacious.

Court was apprised of the fact that regular bail has been granted to the other accused in the matter.

Senior Counsel closed his submission stating that in the changed circumstances, the petitioner has a better case for Anticipatory Bail while the Learned PP differed stating that conditions for the two are completely different.

Also Read: Delhi Court Refuses To Grant Interim Protection To Navneet Kalra Accused Of Hoarding & Black Marketing Of Oxygen Cylinders