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Scam accused Wadhawans given special pass by Maharashtra govt to vacation in farmhouse, detained, Principal Secretary sent on ‘compulsory leave’

On March 16, the Enforcement Directorate had issued fresh summons to DHFL's former promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, the co-accused in the Yes Bank case, to appear before the agency on March 17. However, the Wadhawans had skipped the interrogation, citing the coronavirus pandemic for their non-appearance in connection with the money laundering probe.

Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan, the promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) have been detained in Mahabaleshwar as they were found violating section 144. According to the reports, Wadhawans were vacationing in the Mahabaleshwar farmhouse along with 21 other people including some family members defying the nationwide lockdown.

The incident has caused a massive embarrassment to Shiv Sena-led Mahavikas Aghadi government after it was reported that senior bureaucrats of the state had given the Wadhawans a special pass to travel to their farmhouse

The members had reached Mahabaleshwar on the morning of 9 April and were travelling on a pass obtained under the garb of ‘family emergency’. The locals came to know about people coming from Mumbai and informed the administration. The tehsildar then took action against the Wadhawans when they were at the farmhouse.

The Wadhawan family members have booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to disobeying government orders, for a negligent and malignant act which can spread infection (disease) that is dangerous to life.

Satara SP Tejasvini Satpute has confirmed that members of the Wadhawan family were detained from Mahabaleshwar and have been placed under institutional quarantine at a government hospital in Panchgani. Satpute added that they have been booked under IPC 188, 269 and 270 and investigation will commence soon.

The Wadhawans had obtained a special pass from Amitabh Gupta, Principal Secretary, Home Department of Maharashtra government, to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar citing “family emergency”. The senior IPS officer had provided a safe passage to the DHFL 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.

Letter issued giving Wadhawans free pass

Following this incident, the Maharashtra government late Thursday ordered a probe into the home department giving a free pass to the Wadhawan family in violation of the lockdown in Maharashtra.

Home minister Anil Deshmukh late on Thursday announced a probe in the issue as the letter by Gupta was released to media. “An investigation will be conducted about how 23 members of the Vadhawan family got permission to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar,” tweeted Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

After the massive embarrassment suffered by the Maharashtra government, senior officer (Maharashtra Principal Secretary) Amitabh Gupta has been sent on compulsory leave with immediate effect for granting a special pass to Wadhawans.

There are doubts now being raised about the role of senior politicians and the government of Maharashtra itself. It is being speculated that a bureaucrat would not have taken this decision without the explicit knowledge and perhaps, instructions of high functionaries in the government.

Read: Read details: Links emerge between UPA Minister Praful Patel and PMC Bank scam accused Wadhawans of HDIL

Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, the Promoters of DHFL are currently under two probes by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) one related to at least Rs 14,000 crore of fund diversion from DHFL using fake borrowers. Another case is pertaining to the alleged kickbacks taken by Yes Bank promoters in lieu of granting a loan to DHFL.

The ED had registered a money laundering against the founder and former managing director of Yes Bank, Rana Kapoor, Wadhawan brothers and Wadhawan brothers’ owned RKW Developers.

On March 16, the Enforcement Directorate had issued fresh summons to DHFL’s former promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, the co-accused in the Yes Bank case, to appear before the agency on March 17. However, the Wadhawans had skipped the interrogation, citing the coronavirus pandemic for their non-appearance in connection with the money laundering probe.

Both Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan had lookout notices issued in their name by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and are accused in Yes Bank and DHFL fraud cases. The CBI is considering taking them into custody once their quarantine ends.

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