Business tycoons Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, who are under investigation in multiple financial fraud cases, were detained at Maharashtra’s Mahabaleshwar on Thursday for violating the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, the police said.
Alerted by local residents, the police found 23 people including members of the Wadhawan family – promoters of the scandal-hit shadow lender DHFL – at their farmhouse in the hill station, an official in the state’s Satara district said.
Sources said that despite a lockdown, the family managed to reach the town over 250 km from Mumbai in five cars on Wednesday night. They had passes issued by a senior IPS officer, a family friend, who had termed their visit an “emergency”.
According to local police officials, the Wadhawan family along with their cooks and servants travelled from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar on Wednesday evening in their cars, even when both Pune and Satara districts are sealed amid ongoing lockdown for containing coronavirus.
Among the 23 people was a bodyguard from Italy – one of the worst-affected countries in the coronavirus crisis, sources said. The police have filed a case against all of them and have sent them to quarantine.
Both Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan had lookout notices issued in their name by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and are accused in Yes Bank and DHFL fraud cases. The CBI is considering taking them into custody once their quarantine ends.
Last month, they skipped summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the third time in the money laundering probe against Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor and others, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
The Wadhawan brothers, who denied any wrongdoing in their dealings with the bank, had said “health is a priority”.
While the opposition BJP sought an explanation from the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the state will probe the incident.
“Will probe how the 23 members of the Wadhawan family got permission to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar,” Mr Deshmukh tweeted.