Picnic permission row: Pass for Wadhawans set to put MVA govt in a tight spot

Updated: Apr 10, 2020, 10:20 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

Row over travel nod for Kapil Wadhawan, family to go from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar

Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan are among 23 people detained by cops
Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan are among 23 people detained by cops

Amid a countrywide lockdown where no one is allowed to travel, the state's home department has issued passes to PMC Bank scam-accused DHFL promoters, brothers Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, to travel with seven family members from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar, with the principal secretary mentioning the Wadhawan clan as 'family friends' in a letter.

Kapil, the CMD of DHFL, was arrested on January 27 by the ED in a money-laundering case involving late gangster Iqbal Mirchi and is currently out on bail.
The pass was issued on April 8 on the grounds that the Wadhawan clan needs to travel for a family emergency. mid-day is in possession of the pass issued by Amitabh Gupta, principal secretary (special, Home Department).

"The following persons (read Wadhawan family members) are well known to me as they are my family friends and travelling from Khandala to Mahableshwar for family emergency," mentioned the pass issued by Gupta.

According to the pass — Kapil Wadhawan, Aruna Wadhawan, Vanita Wadhawan and Tina Wadhawan would be travelling by car bearing the number JH 05 BP 0021. While Dheeraj Wadhawan, Karthik Wadhawan, Pooja Wadhawan, Yuvika Wadhawan and Ahaann Wadhawan would be using a car bearing the number JH 05 BP 0021.

Satara SP Tejaswi Satpute said that 23 people, including the Wadhawans, were detained upon entering Mahabaleshwar on Friday for travelling without a valid reason and quarantined at a hospital in Panchgani.

The letter issued by Principal Secretary Amitabh Gupta
The letter issued by Principal Secretary Amitabh Gupta

A senior Mantaralaya official on condition of anonymity said, "The letter issued by the home department will certainly make things uncomfortable not only for the home department, the IPS officer who issued the letter but also for the Uddhav Thackeray led MVA government. The Opposition, especially the BJP, will rake up this issue."
Both Gupta and Director General of Police (DGP) Subodh Kumar Jaiswal did not respond to calls.

However, a senior official attached to the home department played down the issue claiming that police have been issuing travel passes to those facing an emergency. "In this case, one needs to verify whether the family in question really had any emergency or the pass was issued merely based on the influence the family enjoys with police and the political fraternity. Only a detailed inquiry will help find the real reasons. Until then it would be inappropriate to draw any conclusions in the entire episode," the official added.

"Wadhawan brothers are being probed in cases related to the PMC scam, Yes Bank, money-laundering with Iqbal Mirchi. Yet the Maharashtra government gives them VVIP treatment. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh owes an explanation to the country," said BJP leader Kirit Somaiya.

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