Prima facie cheating charge made out in oxygen concentrator hoarding case: Delhi Court

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Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi [India], May 29 (ANI): A Delhi Court on Saturday said that prima facie there are reasons to believe that businessman Navneet Kalra, an accused in a case relating to the alleged hoarding of oxygen concentrators in a restaurant in South Delhi, is involved in Commission of offence under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

"As on date, on a bare perusal of case diary, it is apparent that prima facie there are reasons to believe that the accused is involved in commission of offence under section 420 IPC and under Section 7(1)(a)(ii) read with Section 3(2)(c) and (d) of the Essential Commodities Act (EC Act, 1955) read with para 26 of the DPCO, 2013, both of which are punishable with imprisonment upto seven years, " Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg said.

The court's observation came while hearing the bail plea of Kalra.

The court, however, allowed bail plea of Kalra on condition observing that the case is primarily based upon the documentary evidence and since all relevant documents have already been seized by the Investigating Officer (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 tampering 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. Similarly, there is no material supporting the bald averment of the prosecution that the accused may influence the witnesses being influential," the court said.

"Thus, in view of the aforesaid discussions, in my considered opinion, no purpose will be served by keeping the accused behind bars in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Sanjay Chandra v. CBI (Supra) that the purpose of bail is neither preventive nor punitive but to secure the appearance of the accused person at his trial by reasonable amount of bail and the right to bail is not to be denied to the accused merely because sentiments of the community are against the accused," the court said.

"Apparently the accused is having clean antecedents, in as much as, no previous involvement of the accused in any criminal case has been reported by the IO, " the court further said.

The court said that 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.

Admittedly the first application for grant of anticipatory bail was moved by the accused before Sessions Court on May 8, 2021 and the same was disposed of on May 13, 2021, whereafter another application for grant of anticipatory bail was moved by him before High Court on May 13, 2021, itself and it was during pendency of the said application that he was apprehended, the court noted.

Kalra was arrested in the case on May 17 after the Delhi Police registered a case under various offenses dealing with cheating, disobedience to order promulgated by a public servant, criminal conspiracy, and violating provisions of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 followed by seizing of oxygen Concentrators from restaurants in South Delhi.

The police had busted alleged oxygen concentrators black-marketing racket during a raid and recovered 105 concentrators from two upscale restaurants in the Khan Market area. (ANI)

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