Saying it was a “big mistake” on part of the new Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta to grant passes to the Wadhawan brothers, named as accused in the PMC Bank fraud case, during a countrywide lockdown, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh also defended the appointment saying Gupta had a “good track record and that he was a dutiful officer”.
Deshmukh was interacting with the media after his visit to the Pune Union of Working Journalists on Sunday. During the interaction, he was also asked Gupta’s appointment to the position of Pune Police Commissioner. The 1992-batch Gupta assumed charge as the top cop of Pune Police on Sunday. He was caught in a controversy in April for giving a letter to the families and staff of Kapil and Dhiraj Wadhawan, accused in the high-profile fraud case, to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar during lockdown imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Deshmukh said, “Gupta was principal secretary in our department and during the Covid lockdown period he committed a mistake, rather a big mistake and nobody will support him for that. An inquiry was conducted into it and he was also punished for it. If you look at his track record to date, you will see that he is a good officer and he had to be given responsibility. He is a dutiful officer and has accepted his mistake,” When Deshmukh was asked a follow-up question on the punitive action taken against Gupta following the inquiry, Deshmukh chose not to give any specifics but maintained that action was taken as per the outcome of the inquiry.
Gupta had issued a letter allowing the DHFL promoters, the Wadhawan brothers and their families, to travel during the lockdown. He was sent on a compulsory leave and an inquiry ordered against him by the home ministry concluded that the officer did exceed his jurisdiction.
He, however, justified his move saying he had done it on humanitarian grounds. The government had subsequently accepted Gupta’s explanation and asked him “to be careful” in future and check the background of those seeking his help.
On Sunday morning, Gupta assumed charge of Pune Police Commissioner. Outgoing Pune Police commissioner Dr K Venkatesham, who has been transferred to Mumbai as Additional Director General of Police (Special Ops), welcomed Gupta.
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