Maharashtra govt left red-faced after official gives free pass to Wadhawans during lockdown
A senior Home Department official in a letter said the Wadhwans were his family friends and travelling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for an emergency.Updated: Apr 10, 2020, 01:23 IST
The Maharashtra government late Thursday ordered a probe into the home department giving a free pass to the Wadhawan family caught in the multi-crore rupee Deewan Housing Finance scam to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar on Wednesday in violation of the lockdown in Maharashtra to check the spread of coronavirus.
The letter said to have been signed by principal secretary, home department Amitabh Gupta had left the government red-faced.
The safe passage was given to the Deewan Housing Finance Limited promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan along with 21 other members of their family, friends in five cars.
“This is to just inform you that following are my family friends and travelling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for family emergency. Particulars of the cars are given below,” the letter stated.
Home minister Anil Deshmukh late on Thursday announced a probe in the issue as the letter by Gupta was released to media
“We will probe how permission was granted to allow 23 members of Wadhawan family to travel from Khandala to Satara,” Deshmukh tweeted.
“I had no idea about this letter. This was given by Gupta, that’s true but I don’t know the details over why this letter was given. So, we will conduct a probe and tomorrow a strict decision will be taken. This was not appropriate, I completely accept this,’’ said Deshmukh.
The letter gave details of the five cars, their registration numbers and names of the persons travelling in every car. The Wadhawans were allowed to travel from Pune district to Satara district bypassing the state norms that district borders be sealed.
The issue came to light when residents protested after the Wadhawans and their friends reached Dewan bungalow in Mahabaleshwar.
A senior official in the state secretariat said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was furious because the incident has embarrassed his administration which has been strictly enforcing the lockdown.
The home department is empowered to give such leeway or travel pass only to those who have family emergencies including hospitalisation or death of a family member.
“Wadhwan brothers, who are accused in Yes Bank/DHFL fraud, CBI had issued non-bailable warrants against them. Instead of handing them over to the police, Maharashtra government gives them a VVIP treatment. Home minister Anil Deshmukh owes the country an explanation,’’ said former BJP MP Kirit Somaiaya.