Kalra’s oxygen concentrators were substandard, says report

A volunteer prepares beds with oxygen concentrators at a COVID care centre in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Manvender Vashist

It has now emerged that besides being exorbitantly priced, the oxygen concentrators supplied by Navneet Kalra were of no use for COVID-19 patients and could have instead been counter-predictive, said Delhi Police citing medical experts on Thursday.

Mr. Kalra has been evading arrest after the Delhi police raided his restaurants in Lodhi Colony and Khan Market and recovered more than 500 oxygen concentrators. He has been accused of hoarding, black-marketing and selling the medical equipment at exorbitant rates.

A senior police officer said that they had seized a total 524 oxygen concentrators during the raids at Mr. Kalra’s restaurants and Matrix Cellular’s warehouse in Chhattarpur.

“The Delhi police had sent two different models of the seized concentrators for testing at Shriram Institute for Industrial Research. The report found that an average output in terms of oxygen purity is found to be 32.7% and 38.2% respectively in a 9-litre and 7-litre model. The testing was carried out in the laboratory room air and the oxygen concentration was found to be merely 20.8%,” said the officer.

He said that the report has been submitted in the court.

“The experts said that these oxygen concentrators are unfit for COVID-19 patients. A medical equipment that produces less than 90% oxygen is useless in case of COVID-19,” said the officer.

WhatsApp chats

He said that they have accessed WhatsApp chats of a group created by Mr. Kalra to sell oxygen concentrators. They found that people who have purchased these oxygen concentrators from Mr. Kalra have raised concern over the quality and wanted to return it.

“Oxygen concentration is of very poor quality with only 45% oxygen in a 7-litre cylinder. It is insufficient for a patient. The machine which you are offering is of no use,” one of the buyers raised a complaint in the WhatsApp group.

If during investigation it is found that any COVID-19 patient faced any adverse effects due to these substandard oxygen concentrators, then Mr. Kalra will face more stringent charges for putting a patient’s life at risk.

The police said that Chinese oxygen concentrators were purchased for ₹12,500 and ₹20,669 and sold for ₹70,000 and above per piece. Buyers used to queue up outside Khan Chacha restaurant in Khan Market to purchase them.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 11:35:28 AM |

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