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Black Marketing Of Oxygen In Ghaziabad Amid Covid-19: Allahabad High Court Seeks Inquiry Report, Personal Affidavit Of District Magistrate

Akshita Saxena
24 May 2021 8:51 AM GMT
Black Marketing Of Oxygen In Ghaziabad Amid Covid-19: Allahabad High Court Seeks Inquiry Report, Personal Affidavit Of District Magistrate
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The Allahabad High Court has sought report on the alleged black marketing of Oxygen in UP's Ghaziabad district, resulting into the deaths of scores of Covid-19 patients.A Bench of Justices Sunita Agarwal and Sadhna Rani (Thakur) has directed the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad to file his personal affidavit in the matter, along with a report of an inquiry conducted by...

The Allahabad High Court has sought report on the alleged black marketing of Oxygen in UP's Ghaziabad district, resulting into the deaths of scores of Covid-19 patients.

A Bench of Justices Sunita Agarwal and Sadhna Rani (Thakur) has directed the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad to file his personal affidavit in the matter, along with a report of an inquiry conducted by an independent IAS officer, before proceeding further.

The Court heard Senior Advocate SFA Naqvi and Advocate Shashwat Anand in a petition filed by BJP MLA of the Loni constituency in Ghaziabad, who alleged that the Additional District Magistrate of Ghaziabad, who is in-charge of Oxygen distribution in the city, along with other such persons involved, has been illegally black-marketing Oxygen supplies from Ghaziabad, in Delhi, Haryana, etc.
He had pointed out that Ghaziabad has several Oxygen Plants and can easily sustain and fulfil the entire Oxygen demand in the district. Regardless, the city has been facing shortage of medical Oxygen and there is sheer violation of citizens' rights guaranteed under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
The Petitioner had thus urged the Court to direct a Judicial Officer/ retired High Court Judge to monitor the manufacturing, supply and distribution of Oxygen in Ghaziabad in real-time and file periodical status reports before the Court.
AAG Manish Goyal appearing for the State submitted that a 3-member Committee consisting of ADM, Ghaziabad, Deputy CMO, Ghaziabad and Joint Commissioner, District Industries Centre, Ghaziabad had been constituted for regulating distribution of oxygen supplies in the district to the designated hospitals for treating COVID positive cases.
He submitted that shortage of oxygen was not reported in district Ghaziabad during the period of complaint that was in the last week of April, 2021 and the allegations in this regard in the writ petition are baseless. 
In this regard, he submitted, 35 dedicated COVID hospitals were there in district Ghaziabad in the month of April and May, 2021 and no complaint was received regarding shortage of oxygen supplies from any of the said hospital. He also submitted that for Loni constituency, there was only one COVID designated hospital, having twelve beds and no complaint of shortage of oxygen supply to the said hospital had been received by the Committee. In fact, no complaint regarding shortage of Oxygen was received at the 24X7 control room that has been set up in district Ghaziabad.
Nevertheless, the AAG told the Court, an inquiry has been instituted into the Petitioner's complaint and Ms. Asmita Lal, Chief Development Officer, Ghaziabad has been appointed as the inquiry officer forHe, however, admitted that the inquiry report has not been submitted so far.
The High Court noted that the allegations are primarily of involvement of ADM, Ghaziabad in the matter of 'diversion of oxygen cylinders'. It also noted that the submissions made by the AAG are on the basis of written instructions received by him from the office of the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad.
"In view of the above, while entertaining the present petition, it is directed that the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad shall file his personal affidavit within a period of two weeks bringing on record the statement made by him in the written instructions sent to Sri Manish Goyal. The inquiry report in the inquiry instituted by him on the allegations made in the complaint dated 1.5.2021 filed by the petitioner shall also be brought on record with the said affidavit by the next date fixed," the Court ordered.
It has decided to proceed with the matter after perusing an independent report to be filed by an officer of the IAS cadre. The matter is now posted for hearing on 7th June.
Case Title: Nand Kishore v. State of UP & Ors.
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