BJP leader says Wadhawan brothers given special travel pass in lockdown; govt to probe

BJP leader says Wadhwan brothers given special travel pass in lockdown; govt to probe

Kirit Somaiya (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya on Thursday alleged that members of the Wadhan family who are presently out in bail in the Yes Bank and DHFL case were granted a special travel pass by the Maharashtra Government to travel during the lockdown and called for an inquiry into the incident.

"Wadhawan brothers who are out on bail in the Yes Bank and DHFL case have been given VIP treatment by the state government. The Home secretary has given them a VIP pass and they have gone in a convoy from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar. I have made a request to the state government that inquire into this," BJP leader Kirit Somaiya alleged.

The letter granting permission for Dheeraj Wadhawan, Kapil Wadhawan and 22 other persons who were to travel in a total of five cars was granted by Home Department Principal Secretary Amitabh Gupta on April 8, added Somaiya.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the governent would conduct an inquiry into how the Wadhwans managed to get the travel pass.

Also, state Home Minister informed that Gupta has been sent on compulsory leave with immediate effect till the time the inquiry is pending, which is slated to be initiated against him.

The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court had in February granted bail to Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) promoter Kapil Wadhawan, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly laundering money to buy the properties of Iqbal Mirchi, late aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Home Ministry officials have, however, denied that a travel pass was given to them to travel from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar. The official said the Wadhawans were in Khandala along with other family members, including some senior citizens. When one of the senior citizens started feeling unwell, they approached the government seeking they be allowed to go to their residence in Matheran. "Hence they were allowed to go from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar. They did not want to go to Mumbai as they said COVID-19 had spread over there," the official said.

The Wadhawans had last month failed to appear despite being repeatedly summoned by the ED in a money laundering case against Yes Bank cofounder Rana Kapoor.

Kapil Wadhawan had cited the COVID-19 outbreak as the reason behind being unable to join the investigation.

The group meanwhile has been detained by police at Mahabaleshwar for violation of section 144. All of them have been now shifted to a school turned quarantine facility in Panchgani where they will be under observation for the next 14 days.

There is presently a non bailable warrant against Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan's and the CBI is likely take custody of the duo after the quarantine is completed.