South Africa

Scorpio Newsflash

Gupta lieutenant Ronica Ragavan joins list of accused in Free State fraud case, Investigating Directorate confirms

From left: Former Transnet board member Iqbal Sharma. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungusi Louw) | Ronica Ragavan. (Photo: Facebook | Atul Gupta. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave)

The State has confirmed that Gupta Inc’s Madam Fix-it Ronica Ragavan is the latest individual to be prosecuted in connection with a R24.9-million criminal case in the Free State.

The Investigating Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority says Ragavan, one of two directors of the Gupta-owned Islandsite Investments 180, was scheduled to appear in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Tuesday morning. Ragavan was not in attendance due to medical reasons and a warrant for her arrest was issued but stayed by the court. 

She is expected to join the rest of the accused in this case (those who are in South Africa) when the case returns to court on 8 October 2021.

The other accused are former Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma, his brother in-law Dinesh Patel and three former Free State government employees – Peter Thabethe, Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dhlamini. 

The criminal case emanates from a 2011 due diligence conducted for a project for the Free State department of rural development and agriculture. 

The State’s case is that the money from this deal was channelled to the Gupta-owned Islandsite and that the bulk of the money (R19-million) was moved to a Dubai company allegedly associated with the Gupta enterprise. 

Four members of the Gupta family, the shareholders of Islandsite, Atul and brother Rajesh, along with their wives Chetali and Arti, are wanted in connection with the case. South Africa’s request for Interpol Red Notices for them remains pending. 

Red Notices for two senior members of the Gupta enterprise, Ravi Nath and Jagdish Parekh, and two other accused have already been secured but it’s likely they will need to be extradited to South Africa before their prosecution can begin. 

Between them the accused face a range of charges including violations of the Public Finance Management Act, fraud and money laundering. 

See this article on Ragavan’s affidavit to the Free State High Court, submitted as part of the Gupta family’s efforts to stop a draft restraint order from being made final. Ragavan said it was her, and some of her former colleagues, and not the fugitive Gupta brother who controlled an Absa bank account that is at the centre of the multimillion-rand criminal investigation. DM


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