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IPS officer who gave travel nod to Wadhawans was appointed by Fadnavis govt: Sena

Following a row over the issue, the MVA government (comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) Friday sent Gupta on compulsory leave, and ordered a probe into the matter.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 13, 2020 7:08:16 pm
Wadhawan lockdown violations, dfhl Wadhawan ips officer controversy, fadnavis on Wadhawan lockdown violation, shiv sena attacks devendra fadnvais Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had demanded that CM Thackeray break his silence on the issue. (File)

A blame game started between BJP and the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government over DHFL promoters Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan being allowed to visit Mahabaleshwar during the lockdown, with Shiv Sena saying on Monday that the IPS officer who gave the permission for their travel was appointed by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Smelling a “conspiracy plot”, Shiv Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna, said, “It is now clear and self-explanatory who has been actually behind IPS officer and Principal Secretary (Home) Amitabh Gupta’s decision and on whose instructions he would have put the MVA government into a crisis.”

The Sena said Amitabh Gupta was appointed in the state Home department by previous chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Also read | Uddhav should break silence on letting Wadhawans visit Mahabaleshwar: Fadnavis

Gupta, a 1992 batch IPS officer, who was appointed Principal Secretary in August 2018, had described the Wadhawans as “family friends” and given them written permission to move to their farmhouse Dewan Villa in Mahabaleshwar from their guest house in Khandala amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

After the matter came to light, the Uddhav Thackeray government sent Gupta on compulsory leave and ordered a probe in the matter.

Fadnavis was quick to pounce on the government over the issue and demanded that CM Thackeray break his silence even as he asked, “Does Maharashtra have two different sets of rules for the rich and the poor.”

The former CM also said, “Asking a principal secretary (Amitabh Gupta) to proceed on long leave is not enough, as no officer takes such decisions (to let the Wadhawans travel) on his own. At whose behest did the police officer give permission?”

The Sena said if the government had any plans to help the Wadhawan family, why would Satara district collector seize their vehicles and put them under quarantine.

“The opposition in the state should ask its questions to the Centre that who was behind Gupta in issuing the letter (to Wadhawans) and what exactly has the Centre planned in the Wadhawan case…It seems some conspiracy was being hatched but could not be successful,” the Sena said.

The Wadhawan brothers are being probed by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged money laundering and by the Central Bureau of Investigation for alleged fraud in a Yes Bank loan case. On Friday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wrote to Satara district authorities in Maharashtra, asking to not release them from the COVID-19 quarantine facility at Panchgani without the agency’s nod.

The agency had registered an FIR against the brothers and nine others, including Yes Bank promoter Rana Kapoor and his family members, on March 7. According to the CBI, the brothers have been absconding since then. A Mumbai court had issued non-bailable warrants against the Wadhawan brothers on March 17.

On Sunday, the Wadhawans issued a statement, claiming they had to travel due to health issues faced by them and their mother. In the statement, issued by their legal firm, the Wadhawan brothers also denied that they were absconding, claiming that they had been in correspondence with the ED and the CBI and had given them reasons for not joining their probes.

The trouble for the Wadhawans began in October 2019, when an ED probe into the alleged money laundering activities of late gangster Iqbal Memon alia Iqbal Mirchi, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, found a Rs 225 crore land deal between Mirchi and Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd, a company associated with DHFL.

DHFL, that owes Rs 83,873 crore owes to banks, mutual funds and investors, also became the first non-banking finance company (NBFC) to be referred to the bankruptcy court for resolution by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in November 2019.

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