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Mumbai billionaires violate lockdown; IPS officer sent on leave for helping them

The senior IPS officer had issued a letter exempting the Wadhawans from the lockdown norms citing a ‘family emergency’.

SNS | New Delhi |

Amid Coronavirus lockdown when Maharashtra is the worst sufferer with 1364 cases and fatalities nearing 100, the state government on Friday, detained billionaires Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan who are under investigation in many fraud cases were caught violating the coronavirus lockdown along with their family members.

Senior IPS officer who  helped the DHLF promoters Wadhawans drive in their 23 family members to their farmhouse in Mahabaleshwar, though the lockdown is in place, has been sent on compulsory leave, said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh  as the bureaucrat had issued a letter exempting the Wadhawans from the lockdown norms citing a family emergency.

“This is to just inform you that the following are well-known to me as they are my family friends and traveling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for family emergency… Hence you are hereby informed through this letter to cooperate with them to reach their destination,” read the letter issued by the senior IPS officer.

“As per discussion with Hona CM, Mr Amitabh Gupta, Principal Secretary (special), has been sent on compulsory leave with immediate effect, till the pending of enquiry, which will be initiated against him,” said Deshmukh in a tweet.

According to the police, the Wadhawans were detained at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra’s Satara district on Thursday, for violating prohibitory orders amid lockdown. Police found 23 people including members of the Wadhawan family at their farmhouse.

According to local police, the Wadhawan family along with their cook and servant travelled from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar on Wednesday evening in their cars, even when both Pune and Satara districts are sealed amid ongoing lockdown for containing coronavirus. The group comprised of their bodyguard from Italy, the country which is one of the worst hit countries from the Coronavirus.

The police have filed a case against all of them and have sent them to quarantine.

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

Last month, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had issued summons to Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan in Yes Bank case and asked them to appear on March 17.

The duo reportedly cited the pandemic and skipped the appearance, officials said.

Meanwhile, opposition BJP is trying to gain political mielage with this issue.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis wondered how could one vacation in Mahableshwar with official permission from the police when lockdown is in force.

“No lockdowns for mighty and rich in Maharashtra?. One can spend holidays in Mahabaleshwar with official permission from police,” the former chief minister said.