- Kapil, Dheeraj Wadhawan detained in Mahabaleshwar
- They were under investigation in multiple financial fraud cases
- They violated nationwide COVID-19 lockdown: Police
Billionaires Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, the promoters of scam-hit shadow lender Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL), have been detained at their farmhouse in a Maharashtra hill station after they were caught violating the coronavirus lockdown with more than 20 family members.
A senior officer has been sent on compulsory leave for helping the Wadhawan family – being investigated in multiple cases of fraud – drive in a group of 23 to their farmhouse in Mahabaleshwar, in violation of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
The police, alerted by local people, tracked down the group at the farmhouse. They have all been quarantined there.
The family drove to the town, over 250 km from Mumbai, in five cars on Wednesday night. They had passes issued by IPS officer Amitabh Gupta, Principal Secretary, Home, in the Maharashtra government; he called their trip a “family emergency” in an official letter.
“This is to just inform you that the following are well-known to me as they are my family friends and traveling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for family emergency…Hence you are hereby informed through this letter to cooperate with them to reach their destination,” said the letter signed by the IPS officer, along with details of those traveling in each of the five cars.
According to the police, the Wadhawans took their cooks and servants. The police have filed a case against all of them.
Brothers Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan had lookout notices in their name by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and are accused in the Yes Bank and DHFL fraud cases. The CBI is considering taking them into custody once their quarantine ends.
They are facing two investigations, one related to the diversion of at least Rs 14,000 crore from DHFL using fake borrowers and alleged kickbacks taken by Yes Bank promoters in exchange for loan to DHFL.
Last month, they cited the coronavirus pandemic to skip summons from the Enforcement Directorate for the third time in the money laundering probe against Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor. The Wadhawan brothers had said “health is a priority”.
The opposition BJP has sought an explanation from the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government and demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. “Will probe how the 23 members of the Wadhawan family got permission to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar,” Mr Deshmukh tweeted last evening.
Sources have told NDTV that the CBI is in touch with the police and may possibly take them into custody once their quarantine period ends.