By Mohamed Thaver & Khushboo Narayan
The Maharashtra government on Friday ordered an inquiry against IPS officer and principal secretary (Home) Amitabh Gupta for allegedly helping DHFL promoters Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan along with 21 others, including their relatives, evade the lockdown enforced by the state to contain the spread of Covid-19. He was, on Thursday, sent on forced leave, and the inquiry report is expected to be submitted within 15 days.
Gupta, a 1992 batch IPS officer, who was appointed principal secretary (Home) in August 2018, had described the Wadhawans as “family friends” and given them written permission to move to their farmhouse Dewan Villa in Mahabaleshwar from their guest house in Khandala.
Wadhawans are facing money laundering charges in the Yes Bank case and are currently out on bail. State home minister Anil Deshmukh told reporters a decision on Gupta would be taken after the government receives the enquiry report. “We have sent Gupta on forced leave and have asked Additional chief secretary Manoj Saunik to conduct an enquiry. Apart from that, we have registered an FIR against the Wadhawans under sections 188, 279, 270, 34 of the Indian Penal Code, Disaster Management Act section 51 (b) and Covid-19 section 11,” he said.
The Wadhawans are currently kept in quarantine at Panchgani where they will be observed for 14 days. In the last two months, they had ignored three summons from the Enforcement Directorate to appear for questioning in a money laundering case. In fact, they had cited the Covid-19 pandemic to skip the last summon. They have multiple look-out notices against them since last year.
The CBI had, on March 17, also obtained non-bailable warrants against Kapil and Dheeraj in connection with a loan fraud case involving Rana Kapoor, co-founder of Yes Bank, and DHFL. But the Wadhawans did not join the investigation, even as the CBI served notices on them. A CBI spokesperson said that the Wadhawans were “absconding” since it registered a case against them on March 7.
Gupta, an IPS officer of the 1992 batch, had held important portfolios and in Mumbai, he was DCP Zone IX and later Additional Commissioner of Police (West region).