Delhi oxygen crisis: Police recover over 100 concentrators; plea in HC alleges hoarding by politicians



NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police conducted raids at two restaurants in the national capital and recovered over 100 oxygen concentrators, used for treatment of COVID patients, officials said on Friday.

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 comes after the arrest of four men — Gaurav, Satish Sethi, Vikrant and Hitesh from south Delhi’s Lodhi Colony area on Wednesday for allegedly indulging in black marketing of oxygen concentrators.

After the arrest of the four men, the police had recovered 419 oxygen concentrators that were meant to be sold in black market.

Police said during interrogation, Hitesh disclosed that they were hoarding oxygen concentrators in these restaurants following which raids were conducted at the joints at the Khan Market area and the equipments were recovered.

The owner of these two restaurants is a man named Navneet Kalra, police said, adding that his involvement is being investigated.

Kalra also owns another restaurant where police had conducted raids and recovered oxygen concentrators on Wednesday.

Earlier, the police had said that Nege Ju Restaurant and Bar in central market Lodhi Colony was found open on Wednesday.

A man was found working on a laptop at the restaurant who was later found taking online orders for oxygen concentrators, police had said earlier.

Police had searched the restaurant premises and recovered 32 boxes of oxygen concentrators, one box of thermal scanner and one box containing N 95 masks, the officer had said.

“A case was registered and four accused persons were arrested,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Atul Kumar Thakur had said.

During interrogation, the accused disclosed about their warehouse in Chhatarpur, following which a search was conducted and 387 more units of oxygen concentrators were recovered which were being sold at exorbitant prices in black market, the DCP had said.

Invoices of these oxygen concentrators were recovered.

MRP stickers displaying a price of Rs 69,999 per concentrator were also recovered.

Meanwhile, a plea alleging hoarding of oxygen by political leaders came up for hearing before the Delhi High Court which on Friday sought AAP MLA Imran Hussain’s reply on the claim of distributing oxygen to public for COVID-19 patients.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli issued notice on the plea to the Delhi government and Hussain, a Cabinet minister, who was directed to be present in the hearing on Saturday.

The high court said it will have to be seen from where the MLA was getting oxygen as even gurdwaras are distributing it.

“He may be getting it from Faridabad, you can’t really have a problem if he is not eating away from the allocated source and he has arranged his own cylinders,” the court said.

The petitioner’s counsel showed a Facebook post referring to distribution of oxygen by Hussain and contended that there is hoarding at the back.

Delhi government counsel said whether it is BJP leader Gautam Gambhir or AAP MLA Imran Hussain, strictest possible action will be taken if any violation is found out.

Gambhir had earlier tweeted that some of the crucial medicines for COVID-19 patients were available at his offices and those in need, can take it from there.

He had also tweeted he has arranged oxygen concentrators and those in need can take it.

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