Keep the Wadhawan brothers in detention till lockdown gets over, ED & CBI tell Satara police

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have asked the Satara police in Maharashtra to keep the Wadhawan brothers- Kapil and Dheeraj – under detention until the end to the lockdown, as the promoters of the now insolvent DHFL are wanted by the two central agencies for their respective probes into an alleged Yes Bank fraud.

According to official sources, sleuths from the ED enquired with the Satara police on the whereabouts of the Wadhawans on Thursday. Around the same time, the local police had received a call from Wadhawans’ neighbour informing them that around 20 people travelling in five different cars had arrived at the Wadhawans’ bungalow in Mahabaleshwar.

“After the case was registered, the Wadhawans were not traceable and have been travelling in and out of Mahabaleshwar. This information was not shared by the police with the central agencies despite a non-bailable warrant being issued by a special CBI court. It was only on Thursday when the neighbours raised an alarm and an enquiry was made by ED, the Satara police sent all 23 in the house to institutional quarantine,” said an official.

Separately, the CBI officially told the local authorities that the brothers be not released “without NOC from CBI or order of the Court and (before) taking other necessary steps to prevent the accused persons from absconding.”

The agencies have managed to piece together their movement since March 7.

“On March 7, they moved with their entourage to a rented premises in Khandala. However, they were asked to vacate it last week, following which they approached their contacts within the Maharashtra government and got a letter issued that helped them travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar,” revealed another official. “Enroute, they were stopped at one of the checkpoints by a constable, but were allowed to go after they showed the letter.”

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has instituted an inquiry against principal secretary (special) Amitabh Gupta to probe the circumstances under which Gupta issued the letter.

“Only inspectors general, commissioners and district superintendents of police have been authorised to issue travel passes during lockdown; so the letter issued by Gupta itself is illegal. Also, these passes are issued online or in a designated format, the letter doesn’t even meet the said criteria and was issued in a personal capacity by the officer,” said a senior official from the state home department. “The authenticity of the letter has been verified and it is found that it was issued by Gupta in a personal capacity. Now, an enquiry has been ordered to probe the circumstances under which it was issued.”

Gupta has been sent on leave as the probe continues.

Meanwhile, a political war of words has started in Maharashtra, with the BJP seeking the suspension of state home minister Anil Deshmukh. The minister has debunked the claims made by the Opposition.

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