Picnic Permission Row: BJP leader Kirit Somaiya wants action, not investigation

Updated: 11 April, 2020 10:19 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Somaiya ups ante on the Wadhawan furore; calls scam-tainted brothers 'bhagedu', says sending principal secretary on leave is 'window dressing'

Kirit Somaiya. File pic
Kirit Somaiya. File pic

Kirit Somaiya of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in full throttle combat mode taking on the Maharashtra government over la affaire Wadhawan.

Somaiya said, "State's Principal Secretary (Special) Home department Amitabh Gupta was sent on compulsory leave, yet is that enough action? I call that window dressing. He should have been immediately suspended."

Somaiya added, "Gupta being such a senior officer, knowing the Wadhawan's location should have alerted the CBI to move in for arrest. Instead, he stands guilty of 'bhagedu ko bhagaane ke liye'.

Somaiya also said in Enforcement Directorate (ED) terminology if one does not answer the summons thrice, then one is termed an absconder. "We must not overlook the fact that the CBI has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against them."

Somaiya also pointed out that Gupta was supervising the Mumbai police action against the Wadhawans. "To learn that the same person has given a letter saying in effect that they are good people and close to him… to the Wadhawans which helped them flout the lockdown and travel to Mahabaleshwar, is concerning and makes one think there is a possibility of influencing investigators."

Somaiya said, "If Gupta claims like in some reports that he wrote the letter on behest of some higher-ups then what was this pressure — somebody very powerful or some very pawar-ful parivar?" For the BJP it is get-back time at the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance government. At the receiving end of numerous jibes as a government that turned a blind eye as defaulters like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi, slipped out of India, BJP is pulling no punches now.

BJP spokesperson Niranjan Shetty said, "Earlier, a Sena spokesperson had alleged that the BJP had some role in letting Nirav Modi get away. Today, the state government's senior officer who knows that the ED has its eye on the Wadhawans actually gives them a letter stating he is a family friend, when morally he has to inform the authorities that they are at this location. Then, do not forget that the Wadhawans travelled from Khandala. Somebody has carried this letter which has to be in the original to Khandala from Mumbai. Who is this somebody? An official must have been used for this purpose."

NCP leader Nawab Malik slammed Somaiya saying, "Somaiya has been talking a lot about the issue. We must 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 and unsubstantiated talks." Malik added that the Centre was free to take action against Gupta if they wished to and they would welcome it.

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First Published: 11 April, 2020 10:07 IST

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