The Maharashtra government on Friday sent on 'compulsory leave' an IPS officer and Principal Secretary (Special) Amitabh Gupta for allegedly allowing the scam-tainted Wadhawan brothers and others to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar on Wednesday defying the ongoing 21-day lockdown.
"As per discussion with CM (Uddhav Thackeray), Amitabh Gupta, has been sent on compulsory leave with immediate effect, till the pending of enquiry, which will be initiated against him," said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in a tweet early Friday.
The permission — in the form of a 'To Whomsoever It May Concern' letter — was issued by Gupta on his personal letterhead on April 8 (Wednesday), permitting the Wadhawans and others to cross from Khandala in Pune to Mahabaleshwar in Satara.
The matter sparked off a huge political storm late on Thursday with the Bharatiya Janata Party Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and state Vice President Kirit Somaiya demanding a probe and Deshmukh's scalp.
Deshmukh said the probe will also go into
how the 23-member team managed to reach from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar despite the stringent lockdown which has stranded millions of migrants all over the country.
Gupta's letter said: "This is to just inform you that following are well known to me as they are my family friends and travelling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for family emergency. Hence, you are here by informed through this letter to cooperate with them to reach their destination."
It listed the registration numbers of all the five vehicles and the names of all the family members, friends, and others, who were planning to travel in each of the vehicles, for the unspecified 'family emergency'.
The Wadhawans have been linked as accused in the Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank and Yes Bank scams through their entity, HDIL.
Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan are accused in Yes Bank and DHFL fraud cases. They were spotted at their 'Diwan farm house' by civic authorities. All 23 people will be booked under section 188 of IPC (disobedience of lawful order of public servant), said a senior official of Mahabaleshwar police station.
-with inputs from IANS