By LE Desk
New Delhi, May 12: Hearing a plea moved by the CEO and employees of Matrix Cellular in the oxygen concentrator hoarding and black-marketing case, a Delhi court pulled up the police and government over an incorrect statement made by the officers in-charge of the case.
The public prosecutor had told the Saket court on Tuesday that one the accused in the oxygen concentrator hoarding case, Navneet Kalra and the CEO of Matrix Cellular “cheated the government” by failing to disclose the MRP for imports in “violation of orders passed last year”.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate asked, “If the same model was sold at a higher price, then it can be said they hiked the price. But if they say the model is out of stock and you buy a different model, how is that wrong? Where is the statement?” as reported by India Today.
The investigating officer then admitted that the statement of the complainant was not there in the case-diary. The magistrate then pulled up the police and public prosecutor, saying, “You don’t know what the proceedings are. I have called for the case diary. Am I not entitled to see the case?”
The Saket court slammed the police and prosecutor over oxygen concentrator hoarding case against Navneet Kalra and the CEO of Matrix Cellular. The Delhi government made an incorrect remark about a “witness statement that does not exist in the case diary”, said the court.
“Is doing business in this country an offence? You say we won’t impose lockdown, so businesses are not affected. Now these people have imported. There are no allegations of tax or customs duty evasion,” said the magistrate, India Today reported.
The court further observed, “The officer has not yet been able to negate the story that they imported something and paid Customs duty. All payments have been accounted for, IGST, SGST have been paid. If the government is accepting, the tax department has the information. Nothing was concealed.”
“There is a request from the ministry to this company that we want 100 concentrators. What happened suddenly,” asked the court.
The court said that if private entities are overcharging and misusing the shortage of resources in the market, the government must control it.
However, the court also said that offences cannot be made up to put them in jail. “You either book them for contempt of court if they are selling at an exorbitant rate,” said the court.
The court also advised that “you first make the law to regulate price” and added, “You cannot penalise people in a hurry because HC wanted us to take steps.”
The court said, “You can’t just arrest people because we want to appease the high court. You promulgated the order on May 7 that you can’t sell over MRP. This FIR is of May 5. On that date, there was no crime. There were no regulations.”
“Just to hide your failure, you are showing that we are arresting people. You’re creating a terror of punishment. That’s not the government’s job. When there is no law, you create the law first,” said the court.