Maha HM Anil Deshmukh
Maha HM Anil Deshmukh
ANI Photo

Mumbai Amid the raging controversy over the Wadhawan family travelling to a farmhouse in Mahabaleshwar during lockdown, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Friday ordered an inquiry against Principal Secretary Amitabh Gupta for allegedly facilitating the trip.

The inquiry will be conducted by the additional chief secretary Manoj Saunik who has been asked to submit a report within 15 days.

Gupta, an IPS officer in the Home Department, was sent on compulsory leave early morning after Deshmukh spoke to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The incident has kicked of a political storm with the BJP demanding Deshmukh's resignation while the NCP has slammed the BJP for politicising the Wadhawan travel during lockdown.

Deshmukh told FPJ, ''As per discussion with Chief Minister, Gupta has been sent on compulsory leave with immediate effect while the inquiry is pending against him.''

He further said the Centre has every power to suspend or terminate the services of an IPS officer and informed that offences had been registered against the Wadhawan family members and friends who were part of the entourage. Gupta made a flimsy excuse saying that a ''wrong draft of the letter was sent by his personal assistant.''

'' To whom so ever it may concern, this is to inform that the following (the Wadhawans) are well known to me as they are my family friends and travelling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for family emergency,'' said Gupta in his letter dated April 8. Questions are being asked how Gupta managed to print the letter on his letter head and how it got leaked to the media.

An offence has been registered against DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan and 21 others, including their family members, for travelling to the hill station in violation of prohibitory orders. The offence under relevant sections of the IPC and the Disaster Management Act, one of them related to disobedience of a lawful order, was filed at the Mahabaleshwar Police Station.

This was in violation of the nationwide lockdown which prohibits unnecessary and inter-district travel. According to the Satara Superintendent of Police, they detained 23 members of the Wadhawan entourage after locals in the area alerted them. They have been booked under sections 188, 269 and 270 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Wadhawan brothers – Kapil and Dheeraj -- had rented a guest house in Khandala to evade CBI and ED investigators who were trying to trace them in the Yes Bank case. The lockdown forced them to vacate the Khandala guest house, which led them to travel to Mahabaleshwar.

The Wadhawan family were on Thursday placed under institutional quarantine by the Mahabaleshwar police after they took a six-hour joyride from Khandala to chill at the hill station.

The CBI and the ED have communicated to Satara Police that Dheeraj and Kapil Wadhawan shouldn't be released after the quarantine. Both are wanted in the Yes Bank case by both the agencies.

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