Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik on Friday lashed out at BJP leader Kirit Somaiya for levelling "unsubstantiated" allegations pertaining to the lockdown violation by the Wadhawan family. Mentioning that a detailed inquiry had been ordered regarding the breach of the restrictions, he also reiterated that Principal Secretary (Home) Amitabh Gupta had been sent on long leave pending the completion of the investigation.
Rejecting the demand for state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh's resignation, Malik contended that such "frivolous" utterances by Somaiya had resulted in him being denied the ticket for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Going a step further, the NCP leader called upon the Centre to take action against Gupta as IAS officers come under the ambit of the Prime Minister's Office.
The Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh ji has spoken to CM Uddhav Thackeray ji regarding the Wadhawan travel during Lockdown issue and a detailed inquiry will be done regarding the same. Pending inquiry Mr. Amitabh Gupta has been sent on a long leave (1/3)— Nawab Malik نواب ملک नवाब मलिक (@nawabmalikncp) April 10, 2020
Kirit Somaiya has been talking a lot about the Wadhawan issue, we must all remember that Somaiya is known for his frivolous statements and was denied a candidature of his party for the same. One must not pay attention to his irresponsible, unsubstantiated talks (2/3)— Nawab Malik نواب ملک नवाब मलिक (@nawabmalikncp) April 10, 2020
IPS and IAS officers come under the ambit of the PMO. If the Central Government wishes to take action against Amitabh Gupta, they are free to do so. We will welcome the same (3/3)@PawarSpeaks @CMOMaharashtra @AnilDeshmukhNCP @NCPspeaks— Nawab Malik نواب ملک नवाब मलिक (@nawabmalikncp) April 10, 2020
The controversy came to the fore on Thursday when reports emerged that some members of the Wadhawan family including DHFL promoters Dheeraj and Kapil Wadhawan had travelled to a farmhouse in Mahabaleshwar. 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 family after locals in the area alerted them. They have been booked under sections 188, 269 and 270 of the Indian Penal Code.
In a surprising turn of events, it emerged that the Wadhwans were able to reach Mahabaleshwar on producing a letter written by senior bureaucrat Amitabh Gupta. The letter stated that the Wadhawans were his family friends and travelling for a 'medical emergency'. Incidentally, the DHFL promoters had skipped the summons of the Enforcement Directorate on March 17 citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are being probed in connection with the DHFL and Yes Bank cases. Both the CBI and ED have requested the authorities to not allow the DHFL promoters to leave after the completion of the quarantine period as there were non-bailable warrants pending against them. Meanwhile, Anil Deshmukh announced that Gupta had been sent on compulsory leave and promised action against him after the result of the investigation. The opposition leaders including Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and Kirit Somaiya have questioned the complicity of the state government in allowing the Wadhawans to travel.