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Oxygen concentrators hoarding: Matrix Cellular contests 'misguided' probe by Delhi police; moves Delhi HC

Oxygen concentrators hoarding: Matrix Cellular contests 'misguided' probe by Delhi police; moves Delhi HC

Issuing a statement on Saturday, Matrix clarified that all materials procured by it have been by way of import or purchase in India, after paying all relevant duties and taxes

Police personnel during a raid at Khan Chacha restaurant (PTI photo) Police personnel during a raid at Khan Chacha restaurant (PTI photo)

Matrix Cellular Services, whose CEO was arrested by Delhi Police in connection with oxygen concentrators hoarding case, issued a statement on Saturday, clarifying its stance to "clear the record".

The company has already moved the Delhi High Court, demanding that the goods seized by Delhi Police be returned. Matrix Cellular CEO Gaurav Khanna was arrested in Gurugram on Friday, May 7.

Police conducted a raid at a location in Chhatarpur after one accused, apprehended from two upmarket restaurants in the Khan Market area in connection with stockpiling of oxygen concentrators, disclosed that they had a warehouse. The warehouse was located in a farmhouse and was allegedly being operated by Matrix Cellular. Police recovered 387 more units of oxygen concentrators, which were being sold at high prices in the black market.

Also Read: COVID-19 in India: Where oxygen concentrators are coming from

Matrix Cellular statement

"Matrix has been a good corporate citizen for over 25 years, enabling its customers to travel the world and stay connected with their loved ones. In line with our corporate values and desire to contribute in times of crisis, we immediately worked with our network partners to ensure availability of critical materials to respond to the COVID 19 pandemic including masks, oximeters, sanitisation equipment and oxygen concentrators," the company said in a statement.

Matrix further stated that all materials procured by it have been by way of import or purchase in India, after paying all relevant duties and taxes. The company added that it thereafter facilitated sale of such equipment/materials via its app or direct orders placed with it "all of which have used formal banking channels based on tax invoices with an unimpeachable audit trail."

"Separately, as part of our corporate social responsibility program, the company has donated over 200 oxygen concentrators, 10,000 masks, across the country; while also committing a donation of 200 oxygen concentrators to reputable organisations," Matrix clarified in its statement.

The company further said that in the wake of the ghastly second wave of COVID-19 in the national capital, Matrix worked to set up a centrally located collection centre to assist in collection of oxygen concentrators.

"What Matrix thought was convenience to help its fellow citizens, has been maliciously portrayed to be a grand conspiracy to cheat Delhi and profit from the pandemic - when nothing could be further from the truth," read the statement.

"At a time, we should ideally have been working overtime to get more shipments of critical materials into India and alleviating the stress on our overwhelmed healthcare system, we find ourselves responding to a malicious, false and one-sided campaign to vilify the company," it added.

Also Read: FedEx to deliver 25,000 oxygen concentrators, converters, masks to India amid 2nd COVID-19 wave

Contesting the "baseless allegations and misguided investigation", the company said that the matter "is now sub judice" before the Delhi High Court.

"The company has complete faith in our criminal justice system and is confident of clearing its name and those of its employees at the earliest," it stated.

Delhi Police on Friday said it recovered 105 oxygen concentrators during raids at two upscale restaurants and arrested four people. Ninety-six oxygen concentrators were recovered from popular restaurant Khan Chacha and nine from Town Hall restaurant, both situated in the Khan Market area, the police said.

On Thursday, police recovered 419 oxygen concentrators from a restaurant-cum-bar in south Delhi's Lodhi Colony area and arrested four men -- Gaurav, Satish Sethi, Vikrant and Hitesh -- for hoarding and black-marketing the equipment. During interrogation, the accused revealed about the Chhatarpur warehouse.

Also Read: COVID-19 crisis: Adani Group deploys resources, procures 48 oxygen tanks