Top cop who allowed DHFL promoters’ ‘picnic’ during lockdown gets plum posting

Amitabh Gupta appointed as commissioner of Pune in a reshuffle of 50 IPS officers in Maharashtra

The Wadhwan brothers are already behind bars on money-laundering charges in the Yes Bank fraud case.

The police officer who had signed the documents to allow the promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) and co-accused in a cheating and money laundering case filed against Yes Bank cofounder Rana Kapoor to go on a picnic during the first stage of the COVID lockdown in April has been appointed as the police commissioner of Pune. 

Amitabh Gupta, a 1992-batch IPS officer, will replace K Venkatesham, the government said while announcing a major reshuffle of police officers in the state.

During the first phase of lockdown, the government had prohibited all kind of movements and said emergency cases will need a special pass from the authorities. 

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As the principal secretary, law and order, of the state home department, Gupta had signed a letter dated April 8, 2020, to allow Kapil Wadhwan, Dheeraj Wadhawan and 23 family members along with helps travel all the way to Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai for a “picnic”. In the letter, he had said the journey was needed for a family emergency.

Gupta had mentioned the names of all the people who would be traveling and also the vehicles — two Range Rovers and three Toyota Fortuners — that would be used. The letter said the those travelling are “well-known to me as they are my family friends and traveling from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for a family emergency”.

Related news: ED attaches assets worth ₹2,600 crore of Rana Kapoor and DHFL

When the news came out, it resulted in a big political controversy and Gupta was asked to go on compulsory leave. An inquiry headed by IAS officer Manoj Saunik was conducted against Gupta. He was, however, cleared of all charges and resumed duty in May.

The brothers, who are also accused in the PMC cooperative bank scam, have been arrested and are lodged in the Taloja jail in Mumbai.

In the reshuffle was to happen around July but was delayed by the COVID pandemic. Venkatesham will now assume the post of additional director general of police (special operations), Mumbai. Vineet Agarwal will replace Gupta as principal secretary (law and order), home department.   

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