By Arré Bench Apr. 10, 2020
While the rest of us are thrashed by cops if we leave the house during this lockdown, the Wadhawan family – which includes DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan – obtained “special passes” to travel to their farmhouse in Mahabaleshwar.
Privileged people are airlifted from foreign countries in special flights, ordinary migrants have to walk 500 kilometers to get home. Middle-class folks who don’t disclose their travel history have cases slapped against them, lower-middle class ones will be beaten for buying essentials and groceries, while Kanika Kapoor can commit gross negligence and still get VIP treatment.
While the rest of us are engaged in a jhadu-pocha-bartan routine and are thrashed by cops if we leave the house during this lockdown, the Wadhawan family – which includes DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan – obtained “special passes” to travel to their farmhouse in Mahabaleshwar.
— Mumbai Mirror (@MumbaiMirror) April 9, 2020
Amitabh Gupta, principal secretary, home department of Maharashtra, issued special passes to Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, who are accused in the Yes Bank case and are also being probed by the ED as part of a separate money laundering case. He referred to them as “family friends” and stated the trip from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar was for a “family emergency”.
While middle class emergencies include things like the sink overflowing or running out of milk, the Wadhawan family had to travel to their farmhouse on a popular hill station during a long weekend to sort out their “emergency”. I guess, #FirstWorldProblems.
Amitabh Gupta, principal secretary, home department of Maharashtra govt, issued a special pass to Kapil Wadhawan & Dheeraj Wadhawan (Yes Bank co-accused) to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar for a "family emergency". He calls them his family friends. pic.twitter.com/AJXp0Ga1y8
— Parth MN (@parthpunter) April 9, 2020
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh tweeted that there will be an inquiry to find out how 23 members of the family travelled to Mahabaleshwar.
We will conduct an inquiry to find out how 23 members of Wadhwan family travelled to Mahabaleshwar.
— ANIL DESHMUKH (@AnilDeshmukhNCP) April 9, 2020
Gupta, who allegedly gave permission to the Wadhawans to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar has been sent on compulsory leave with immediate effect, pending inquiry.
Maharashtra Principal Secretary (Special), Amitabh Gupta (who allegedly gave permission letter to Wadhavan family) has been sent on compulsory leave with immediate effect, till the pending of inquiry, which will be initiated against him: Home Minister Anil Deshmukh https://t.co/iFQHidM262 pic.twitter.com/Qm1PXBrv05
— ANI (@ANI) April 10, 2020
Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis questioned the move, asking whether lockdown didn’t exist for the mighty and rich, who could spend holidays with police permissions. He also hinted at the fact that IPS office was being made a scapegoat for the decision.
No lockdowns for mighty & rich in Maharashtra?
One can spend holidays in Mahabaleshwar with official permission from police.
It is not possible that a senior IPS officer would do such gross mistake knowing the consequences on his own.
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) April 9, 2020
Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan have been detained in Mahabaleshwar in violation of Section 144. Police found 25 family members at their farm house including family members. CBI to take custody of Wadhawans and they are in touch with Satara Police.
#Breaking | DHFL promoter Kapil Wadhawan & 22 others have been detained in Mahabaleshwar for violating lockdown & an FIR has also been registered.
CBI to take custody of Wadhawans & they are in touch with Satara Police.
Kajal Iyer & Bhavatosh Singh with details. pic.twitter.com/2qpKAKGe6d
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) April 10, 2020
While the poor have to face harsh consequences of flouting the lockdown, upper and middle-class entitlement is weakening India’s battle against COVID-19. Even in these existential times, where negligence is the difference between life and death, the middle class can’t do without its maids, they cannot do with guards, they cannot stop ordering things they might not need, and they can’t stop from going on vacations!
"Many homes in Defence Colony are still employing domestic workers like guards and maids. To make matters even more egregious, rather than clamping down on this dangerous violation of the lockdown, the Delhi Police has actually endorsed the action." https://t.co/GVTUilKxe4
— Rohan Venkat (@RohanV) April 10, 2020
The fight against COVID-19 in India is unique to some parts of the world, we are not only battling a virus but also a fake news pandemic – and upper class entitlement at the same time.