Wadhawans cars seized; MVA and BJP duel over travel nod


Satara police on Friday filed an FIR against the 24-member
Wadhawan group which is now lodged in a quarantine home in Panchgani. They are accused of violating various sections of the IPC and Disaster Management Act.

Five cars used by the group have been seized and they are parked at the Wai police station near Mahabaleshwar.

Senior officials claimed IPS officer
Amitabh Gupta told his seniors that a wrong draft of his authority letter was sent out by his office. A second letter circulated on Friday didn’t mention that the people travelling were “well known to me as they were family friends”.

Gupta’s permission letter, signed by him, had named the 24 persons and given registration details of their vehicles. It added: “This is just to inform you that the following are well known to me as they are my family friends and travelling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for a family emergency…” It sought cooperation to help them reach their destination. The family with bodyguards faced protests from locals when they reached Mahabaleshwar on Wednesday, and were taken to the quarantine facility.

Satara collector
Shekhar Singh said all 24 have tested negative for Covid-19 and appealed to local residents not to panic.

Dheeraj and Kapil Wadhawan are accused in a money laundering case involving drug smuggler
Iqbal Mirchi. They are also named in criminal cases involving
Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor.

Before the lockdown, the CBI had searched Wadhawan premises at different locations, including Mahabaleshwar, to question them in a case linked to Kapoor, but in vain. After that, they had approached the court and got the warrant.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI are investigating the Wadhawans in two separate cases registered against Kapoor.

In Mumbai, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya on Friday demanded that home minister
Anil Deshmukh should resign. “This would not have happened without the knowledge of the Pawar family. The relationship between the Pawars and the Wadhawans is well known. Sending Gupta on leave is merely window dressing. Deshmukh should resign,” said Somaiya, also seeking disciplinary and criminal action against Gupta.

Describing Somaiya as a nuisance maker, Deshmukh said the state has initiated action against Gupta. “We are all aware that an IPS officer can be suspended only by the Centre. Somaiya should ask the Centre to suspend Gupta,” the minister added.

Congress spokesperson
Sachin Sawant said the Wadhawan group has been key donors for BJP. “Wadhwan’s company Privilege High-Tech developing Vijaydurga port in which BJP MP and close aide of Modiji R. Chandrashekhar is a partner. Hence false pretence of @KiritSomaiya won’t work,” he said in a tweet.

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