A Delhi court on Saturday granted bail to restaurateur Navneet Kalra accused in a case of hoarding and black marketing of oxygen concentrators amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg said, “In my considered opinion, no purpose will be served by keeping the accused behind bars in view of the law laid down by Hon’ble 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 has directed to release Navneet Kalra on bail, on the furnishing of a personal bond and two surety bonds of Rs 1,00,000 each to the satisfaction of Ld. Duty MM (SE). Along with the condition that the accused shall not directly or indirectly try to influence the witnesses, shall not try to contact the customers to whom he had sold the oxygen concentrators during pendency of the investigation, shall not in any manner temper with the evidence and shall join the investigation as and when directed by the investigating officer (IO). Bail bonds not furnished.
Senior Counsel Vikas Pahwa, who appeared for Navneet ,Kalra submitted that he has been falsely implicated in the present case for alleged commission offences under Section3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Sections 420/188/120B/34 Indian Penal Code. He further submitted that assuming for the sake of arguments that a prima facie case for offences punishable with imprisonment upto seven years i.e. the offences u/s 420 IPC and u/s 3/7 of the EC Act, 1955 is made out against the accused at this stage, the accused is still entitled to bail on the fundamental principles governing the bail. He also submitted that in catena of number of judgments laid down by the Supreme Court it has been held that in India bail is a rule and jail is an exception.
On the other hand, Additional PP Atul Shrivastava argued that the accused not only sold so many devices beyond MRP but even the sale price of the concentrators was revised by him within a short span by coercing more and more customers to come forward to buy the same while posting frequent messages of concentrators going out of stock.
“The case is primarily based upon the documentary evidence and since all relevant documents have already been seized by the IO from the possession/at the instance of accused, there is no substance in the plea of the State that accused may tamper with the evidence,” said CMM Arun Kumar Garg.
“Similarly, there is no material supporting the bald averment of the prosecution that accused may influence the witnesses being influential. Moreover, this cannot be the sole ground for refusal of bail to the accused,” he added. “In my considered opinion, no purpose will be served by keeping the accused behind the bars in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Sanjay Chandra Vs CBI, 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 the sentiments of the community are against the accused,” said the CMM, while admitting the bail application.
Read bail order belowBail-Order-dated-29.05.2021-in-Navneet-Kalra-v.-State