Wadhawan’s of Failed DHFL allowed to holiday in Mahabaleshwar During Lockdown by Special Home Secretary
Moneylife Digital Team 10 April 2020
In a shocking abuse of power, 23 people including members of the Wadhawan family, including Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, who are under investigation for multi-crore fraud, underworld connections and more were allowed to travel to Mahabaleshwar through a special, but completely irregular and may be even illegal order, amidst the lockdown. 
 
The Maharashtra government has initiated enquiry and sent the principal secretary (special), home department on compulsory leave, according to a tweet by Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
 
 
However this action appears a mere eyewash since there is no provision in government rules to send bureaucrats on compulsory leave. According to sources, he may return with full pay.  In fact, the state government should have suspended and charge sheet Amitabh Gupta, the principal secretary (special) for major penalty under rule 8 of the all India services (discipline and appeal) rules (AIS (D&A)) rules, tweeted Dr Ashok Khemka IAS, from the Harayana who is highly regarded for his integrity.
 
 
Dr Khemka insists that Mr Gupta’s action is a cognisable offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and it is also covered by several sections of the Indian Penal Code regarding flouting of quarantine rules and the National Disaster Management Act. 
 
The Wadhwans from Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) had procured permission for travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar from Mr Gupta, who has no authority to issue any such travel document, says government sources.
 
These are only issued by the police commissioner or the district magistrate, says Dr Khemka. The rules for the issue of passes are very clear and an email has to be sent to [email protected] with name, travel details, vehicle number, perons travelling and purpose of venturing out. Permissions are granted or denied immediately on mobile phones. 
 
Dr Khemka says, Kapil Wadhawan, chairman and managing director of DHFL and Dheeraj Wadhawan, are being investigated in several cases of fraud and mismanagement, so Mr Gupta’s claims about family friendship must by fully investigated to check if there was any quid pro quo involved in granting the permission. 
 
Mr Gupta, the principal secretary in his letter wrote, "...following are well known to me as they are my family friends and travelling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for family emergency."
 
 
The Wadhawans along with their beleaguered DHFL, are co-accused in a cheating and money laundering case registered against Yes Bank co-founder, Rana Kapoor. 
 
What is more bizarre and shocking is the after obtaining look out notices and non-bailable warrants (NBW) against both Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, investigative agencies including Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), have been vigorously trying to locate the ‘untraceable' duo. 
 
Quoting an official, a 21 March 2020 report from Economic Times, had mentioned that the after a first information report (FIR) was registered against the Wadhawans, they had fled to Mahabaleshwar and since then, have been changing locations.
 
“It was also learnt that they are moving with their support staff. The duo recently communicated through their lawyer that they are in Delhi and won’t be able to join the probe owing to the travel restriction in wake of the COVID 19 pandemic,” the official was quoted as saying by the newspaper. 
 
So the question is how these 23 members from Wadhawan family were even allowed to travel violating the lockdown by the home secretary? 
 
 
Those who travelled with this permission, include Mr Wadhwan, and other family members, Aruna, Vanita, Tina, Dheeraj, Karthik, Pooja, Yuvika and Ahaan Wadhwan. Apart from the Wadhwan family, Sharturghan Ghaga, Majoj Yadav, Vinid Shukla, Ashok Wafelkar, Diwan Singh, Amol Mandal, Lohit Fernandes, Jaspreet Singh Ari, Justin Dmello, Indrakanth Chaoudhary, Pradeep Kamble, Elizabeth Ayyapillaie, Ramesh Sharma and Tarkar Sarkar also travelled in five separate vehicles with the Wadhwan family.
 
When the group reached Mahabaleshwar in Satara district, the authorities rounded up all the 23 people and sent them into quarantine. The Satara police has also registered a first information report (FIR) under section 188 of IPC (disobedience of lawful order of public servant) against all of them for violating corona lockdown orders.
 
 
Meanwhile, the CBI has written to the district magistrate and superintendent of police of Satara to not release the scam-tainted Wadhawan brothers without its permission.

A senior agency official told IANS that on Thursday information was received by CBI that Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan were located in Satara and lodged at a government quarantine centre at Panchgani. "Thereafter, an email has been immediately sent to DM and SP of Satara for not releasing them without NOC from CBI or order of the court and taking other necessary steps to prevent the accused persons from absconding," the official said.
 
The CBI official said that the Wadhawan brothers were absconding since beginning of the investigation in the alleged Yes Bank scam probe. The CBI had carried out searches at the premises of Wadhawans on 9th March this year and during the time of the searches, both of them were not available at their residence. The two had also notices served to them but did not join the investigation. Following their-non compliance, the Special CBI court in Mumbai issued a non-bailable warrant against both of them on 17th March.
 
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has instituted an inquiry against Mr Gupta to probe the circumstances under which he had issued the letter on his letterhead to the Wadhawans.

In an order, the home department designated Manoj Saunik, who is additional chief secretary in finance department to conduct the inquiry. Mr Saunik is asked to submit within 15 days the inquiry report.

However, several activists and citizens have objected for appointing Mr Saunik to conduct the inquiry.

In February 2020, the Bombay High Court has slammed three officials from the state public works department (PWD) for creating false records during President's rule in Maharashtra. Mr Saunik was one of the officers against whom the HC had passed strictures.

As per a report from Times of India these three officials gave an impression that consent terms to pay a contractor over Rs350 crore had been directed by the court.

"Justice Girish Kulkarni said it is 'shocking' that in similarly-worded affidavits, PWD additional chief secretary Manoj Saunik, secretary CP Joshi and secretary (works) Ajit Sagne had stated that the HC had directed consent terms be filed by 2 December 2019 and observed that it was in the public interest to settle the claim. No court can do this," the report says.

"We are least bothered if parties settle or don't settle. There is a limit to which persons can lie. That too responsible government officers," Justice Kulkarni was quoted as saying in this report.

Justice Kulkarni also said it is with "deep anguish and pain that the averments are noted by court" and if the statements had gone unnoticed, "it would have not only amounted to maintaining and permitting false record to be created, but also would amount to putting a premium on the dishonesty" of officers. The court said the acts of officers' prima facie amounted to "perjury" and it would "very difficult in these circumstances" to "show any laxity" to them.
 
Earlier in January this year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested Kapil Wadhawan in connection with its probe in money laundering against underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's close aide and dead gangster Iqbal Mirchi and others. Mr Wadhawan was named as accused in the money laundering case after ED said he was not cooperating with the probe.
 
The case relates to Iqbal Mirchi's Mumbai properties which have been called as proceeds of crime. Three such properties were sold to Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd, the company linked to Mr Wadhawan's brother, Dheeraj. The three prime properties—Rabia Mansion, Mariam Lodge and Sea View—all in Worli, were sold for around Rs225 crore.
 
ED has alleged that the DHFL chief diverted funds from the company to shell companies and later these dubious companies got amalgamated with Sunblink to 'cover' alleged diversion of loans acquired from DHFL. 
 
Earlier in November 2019, the Lok Sabha was informed that the ministry of corporate affairs has finished conducting an inspection of DHFL and has submitted the inspection report to the finance ministry. As per the submitted report, DHFL has a total loan portfolio of Rs95,615 crore.
 
The embattled housing finance company has a total loan portfolio of Rs95,615 crore which includes housing loans of Rs44,851 crore, non-housing at Rs13,590 crore, SME (small and medium enterprise) loans Rs4,924 crore under the retail loans. Under the wholesale loans, housing of residential projects at Rs15,655 crore, SRA (slum rehabilitation authority) project, Rs7,021 crore, non-housing at Rs9,340 crore and commercial at Rs233 crore.
 
During the same month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had superseded the board and there were reports that they want to refer DHFL to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). R Subramaniakumar had been appointed as administrator of DHFL for taking stock of assets and liabilities of the company. A resolution plan will be accepted only if 66% of the CoC (committee of creditors) approve it. There has been a freeze on payment to creditors already.
 
DHFL has been facing a liquidity crisis since September 2018 and has so far paid Rs41,000 crore of its financial obligations through a securitisation of assets and repayment collections.
 
Comments
suneel
4 years ago
Clear case of political involvement. Why these people r not in custody when stakes r so high.
Is this an opportunity for them to abscond.
mahesh.bhatt
4 years ago
Good Work but cuts now will be shared from Police to Politicians & Judiciary and again all will be in the same well Hallucinated? Why he has given so much oil & grease to system?Our Dear Chaggan Bhujbal 8800 cr scam 2014 Minister 2019 ??Mahesh Bhatt
psd1941
4 years ago
Apparently, all the 24 occupants can't be the members of the same family and also not the family friends of the Principal Secretary. Further, the discriminating attitude of the Government becomes apparent, as he has been favoured by sending on leave, while lower grade officer would have been placed under suspension immediately, even if he would have acted on the advice of his seniors. When law is equal for all, why such a discrimination and favoritism?
anilkk65
4 years ago
The order declares that wadhawans are family friends of the signatory. So, CBI must question the P S about whereabouts of wadhawans.
deshjago
4 years ago
It cannot be possible without the blessings of political masters. They always go scot free when they are the actual culprits in this.That is why a very lenient action has been taken, Inquiry, if any, will be an eyewash.
raaajan03
4 years ago
This person should be immediately dismissed with no terminal benefits and also criminally charged. Absolutely shameless character.
rajoluramam
4 years ago
Some highly influential person is protecting these WADHWANS. They misused nearly one lakh crores collected from public by various means. They are scot free and enjoying life like MAHARAJAS. Not a single pie is returned even after 2 years after the default. When the country is in turmoil of Carona virus, right from the PM to ordinary lab technician are struggling to save the nation, these people wanted to enjoy the life in summer with out having any inhibitions. They should be severly punished.
allmails2r
Replied to rajoluramam comment 4 years ago
All the deposit holders who invested their hard earned money in their company should shoot these bloody ba***rds. How can they have fun at some one's cost??? Shame on them. And those idiots who are helping these people also should be punished.
alok.sah
Replied to rajoluramam comment 4 years ago
The influential persons trying to protect them should also be found and punished along with them .
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