Maharashtra home minister backs top cop who gave Wadhwans a lockdown pass
Gupta had to face a departmental inquiry earlier this year for his issuing an e-pass to Wadhwans.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 14:02 IST
Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said newly-appointed Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta’s track record has been good even as he was punished for a “misdeed”, a reference to an e-pass issued by Gupta to Wadhwan brothers in violation of regulations during the lockdown to enable their travel to Mahabaleshwar.
Gupta, a 1992-batch IPS officer, took charge as Pune’s commissioner of police on Sunday, three days after his appointment was announced, raising eyebrows. The former principal secretary (special) at home department, Gupta, was accused of allowing businessmen brothers Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan to travel from Khandala near Pune to Mahabaleshwar in Satara district amid the lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. Both Wadhwan brothers have been under the scanner in cases of financial irregularities involving Yes Bank and Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank.
As the news of businessmen brothers travelling to Mahabaleshwar created an uproar Gupta was sent on a leave while a departmental inquiry was initiated against him.
“During the probe, he accepted his mistake. However, Gupta has a very good previous track record. At the same time, he has been punished for his act,” said Deshmukh on Sunday while interacting with journalists in Pune.
When asked what exactly was the punishment meted out to the IPS officer, Deshmukh preferred to remain silent.
On Marathas’ opposition to initiating the recruitment process for 12,500 posts in police department, Deshmukh said a legal opinion is being sought on keeping 13% posts vacant for the community till Supreme Court takes a decision on the matter.
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“The process of recruitment in the police department was initiated around two months back and the cabinet approved it only recently after the Supreme Court verdict. Since the process of recruiting for 12,500 posts will take time and government does not want anyone to be left out, it is planning to keep 13% posts vacant and reserved for the Maratha community,” said Deshmukh while responding to Maratha outfits’ opposition to beginning of recruitment until the stay on Maratha reservation, given by the SC, is lifted.
Rajya Sabha MP Sambhaji Raje and leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis have opposed government’s move to go ahead with the recruitment process and termed it as “rubbing salt to injury”