My dear Uddhav,
Greetings on the 60th birthday of our Maharashtra. Sorry for addressing you by your first name. But, having known you and Balasaheb closely for several years, I think, I can take the liberty.
I appreciate the need to extend the lockdown by two weeks. Maharashtra, unfortunately, continues to report the highest number of corona cases in the country. You are personally trying to tackle the crisis to the best of your ability. Thank you for that. Despite the tremendous inconvenience, including loss of income, the majority of the people of Maharashtra are willing to observe all the restrictions of lockdown for another two weeks.
But, certainly, we would like to ask why you did not put your foot down and recommend to the Centre the summary dismissal of Amitabh Gupta IPS, special secretary, home, who brought complete disgrace to your govt by recommending safe passage to Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhwan, prime accused in the mega DHFL scam? Gupta described in writing the Wadhwans as his “family friends”!! See the kind of family friends your official is having. Yet no exemplary action was taken against him. A sham of an inquiry was ordered by your home minister Anil Deshmukh and Gupta was predictably let off with not even a rap on his knuckles even though he had willfully aided and abetted in the mockery of the lockdown by the Wadhwans while poor people were lathi-charged on their buttocks for violating the lockdown. Does your home minister think that the people of Maharashtra are fools? Its true Deshmukh belongs to the NCP, but surely as the CM you could have asserted yourself and demanded stringent action against Gupta. With what face is your govt asking people to stay indoors when Gupta helped the Wadhwans escape to the cooler climes of Mahabaleshwar with their entourage?
Then there is the even more shocking case of your housing minister Jitendra Avhad who got angry with a fellow Thanekar for an FB forward about him. Avhad behaved like a regular goonda. Incidentally, the man targeted by Avhad of the NCP is Anant Karmuse, a Maharashtrian and the Sena was formed by Balasaheb to defend the Marathi manoos. Here, under your raj, a Marathi manoos is picked up from his home at night on the orders of Avhad by police officers, taken in a jeep to the minister’s bungalow and beaten black and blue with iron rods and lathis in the presence of the minister who was abusing and threatening him. I thought these things happened only in Bihar. Avhad’s goons wanted Karmuse murdered, but a senior cop warned that there will be a messy situation if he was killed in the bungalow premises. Instead of booking Avhad and his gang for attempted murder, the Thane police are working vigorously on the FIR filed against Karmuse, an engineer by profession, for his FB post. Karmuse’s wife was even slapped with a notice. Since he did not get justice from your govt Mr Karmuse has filed a criminal writ petition before Bombay HC which makes for most shocking reading. Avhad and his staff violated lockdown with impunity and the poor people of Maharashtra are being advised to stay indoors.
You should have immediately dismissed Avhad even if it meant displeasing the NCP. But, you did no such thing. Am sure Balasaheb would not have endorsed your silence.
It is unclear if your govt will be able to bend the pandemic in the next fortnight. This is because the govt has lost the moral authority to impose the lockdown because of its gross inaction in the case of Gupta and Avhad. Even now it is not too late. Am sure PM Modi, who has agreed to bail you out vis a vis the council polls, will back you if you move decisively against Gupta and Avhad who have brought disgrace to your govt.
With best wishes always.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.