Delhi Police seized 96 oxygen concentrators from Khan Chacha restaurant in Khan Market in the national capital on 7 May. The department released a video of the raid where boxes of oxygen concentrators — essential for Covid-19 patients with severe a breathing problem — were seen piled up at the restaurant. Police have sealed the restaurant for now.
Earlier on Thursday, the police had seized 419 concentrators from a south Delhi restaurant. Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) South Delhi Atul Bhatia said that during area patrolling, Nege Ju Restaurant and Bar located at central market Lodhi Colony was found open and some suspicious activity was going on.
Incidentally, the owner of Khan Chacha is the same Navneet Kalra Dayal who owns Nege-Ju where cylinders were found the previous day. Bhatia said that after verification, the owner of the restaurant and bar (Nege-Ju) was identified as Navneet Kalra. He said that a case was registered under several sections of IPC, Essential Commodities Act, and Epidemic Diseases Act, and four accused persons — Gaurav, Satish Sethi, Vikrant, and Hitesh were taken into custody.
Navneet Kalra imported the oxygen concentrators from China at around Rs 20,000-25,000, and allegedly sold them in Delhi for at least Rs 70,000.
Some social media users assumed Kalra had been photographed in the company of Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and former president of the party Rahul Gandhi. Here are two collaged photographs that circulated wildly on social media:
However, it turned out that the man in the photo with the INC’s dynasty heads is Chef Augusto Cabrera, managing partner at Townhall, owned by Navneet Kalra.
But, of course, Navneet Kalra is a regular character on Page 3, the page dedicated to socialites who are known to never miss photo-ops with the powers-that-be. Kalra once drew close to the Aam Aadmi Party too.
In 2020, he was among the personalities felicitated by the AAP, Business Insider (India) had reported.
Police are hunting Kalra who also owns Dayal Opticals, an optometrist’s store.
Hitesh, who is the manager of Nege Ju told the police that his associates stored some of the units at Town Hall and Khan Chacha restaurant. The district police conducted raids and seized 96 oxygen concentrators from Khan Chacha and nine from Town Hall on Friday.
People have come out in support of the original Khan Chacha restaurant, which was run by Haji Banda Hasan and his two sons Javed and Saleem. Among the supporters who called out that Navneet Kalra is the owner of the restaurant where the oxygen concentrators were seized was National Conference leader Omar Abdullah who felt sorry for the original Khan Chacha.
Omar Abdullah tweeted, “I feel sorry for poor Khan Chacha & his family. First, they lost the use of their name to Navneet Kalra & now they are being dragged through the mud for no fault of theirs because said Kalra was using his eateries to store concentrators allegedly for sale on the black market.”