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‘SA is witch-hunting us’ — Wanted Gupta brothers get court green light to visit ailing mom in India

‘SA is witch-hunting us’ — Wanted Gupta brothers get court green light  to visit ailing mom in India
A group of people protest outside the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassy in Pretoria on 10 June 2021, calling for the speedy extradition of the Guptas. (Photo: Deaan Vivier / Beeld / Gallo Images)

It has emerged via an Indian court that Atul and Rajesh Gupta claim they are victims of a South African witch-hunt. This comes just after their brother Ajay and another relative, in a separate case, were arrested in India for alleged involvement in a builder’s suicide.

A regime change in South Africa sparked law enforcement agencies to witch-hunt them.

This is basically what Gupta brothers Rajesh and Atul have claimed to a court in India in a bid to see that they get to visit their ailing mother there without being detained in connection with certain matters linked to this country.

India has given the green light for them to visit for two months from this week.

Fugitives

Rajesh and Atul Gupta are wanted in South Africa in connection with State Capture crimes, including for fraud and money laundering.

In 2022 they were arrested in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Last year they managed to avoid being extradited from there to South Africa.

Read more in Daily Maverick: South Africa set to démarche UAE ambassador on Guptas’ extradition judgment failure

Around that time it emerged they had citizenship in Vanuatu.

In April this year, National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi said South Africa was still trying to find out from the UAE what had gone wrong with its extradition request.

“We’ve been trying to … set up a meeting with the national director and the head of the prosecuting authority in the UAE in order for us to understand this,” she said.

“We’ve not been able to schedule that meeting for months.”

A Delhi High Court order, dated Tuesday, 28 May 2024, now provides some insight into what the fugitive Gupta brothers think of the legal action they face in this country.

It also points to where they likely are.

The Delhi High Court order relates to a Look Out Circular (LOC), which is effectively an alert that India uses to trace suspects.

Rajesh and Atul Gupta were listed as petitioners or applicants in the case.

Ageing ailing mother

It was submitted to the court that their 77-year-old mother “is a resident of Saharanpur, Uttarakhand, [and] is suffering from various health problems due to old age”.

The brothers therefore wanted the court “to suspend the operation” of the LOC.

This was “to enable them to fulfil the wishes of their mother to take her on a pilgrimage for the ‘Do Dham Yatra’ to ‘Kedarnath Dham’ and ‘Badrinath Dham’ that has recently been opened for a brief tenure”.

According to the court order, Rajesh and Atul Gupta’s legal representatives had submitted they had a “good case in their favour and are likely to succeed”.

SA’s regime change and ‘witch-hunting’

The order said the brothers wanted the LOC “quashed on grounds of applicants being innocent, [and] witch-hunting by the law enforcement agencies in Pretoria, South Africa, against the applicant and his family members due to change in regime in the said country”.

It referenced South Africa’s failed attempt to have them extradited from the UAE.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘A duplicitous game’ – UAE criticised after Guptas extradition request debacle

“The extradition petition filed by the South African authorities before UAE courts has already been rejected vide order dated 15.03.2023,” the Delhi court order said.

It concluded that the brothers would be “permitted to come to India for a period of 8 weeks from 27.05.2024 to 08.07.2024”.

The court order stated: “They would share their detailed itinerary with copies of e-tickets with respondents well in advance and would also apprise about their contact-address while in India for said duration.

“We clarify that they shall not be detained or arrested on the basis of LOC in question.”

Arrests in suicide case

Rajesh and Atul Gupta are not the only members of their family who are the focus of legal matters.

Last week it emerged that their brother Ajay Gupta, and his brother-in-law Anil Gupta, were detained in India in connection with a prominent builder’s suicide.

The builder, Satyendra Singh Sahni, also known as Baba Sahni, allegedly wrote a suicide note stating that he had been severely depressed because of ongoing threats and financial disputes with several businessmen, including Ajay and Anil.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ajay and Anil Gupta arrested after alleged involvement in builder’s suicide in Dehradun, India – reports

It was widely reported in India that the duo would be kept behind bars for at least two weeks after their arrests.

The Gupta brothers – Ajay, Rajesh and Atul – also face problems linked to another country.

‘Hundreds of millions of dollars’

In 2019 the United States sanctioned them.

“Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh Gupta immigrated to South Africa in the 1990s, and due in large part to their generous donations to a political party and their reportedly close relationship with former South African President Jacob Zuma, their business interests expanded,” a US Treasury statement said at the time.

“The family has been implicated in several corrupt schemes in South Africa, allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of dollars through illegal deals with the South African government, obfuscated by a shadowy network of shell companies and associates linked to the family.”

It was previously reported that Department of Justice spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said as far as the Department was aware, the fugitive brothers were in Dubai. However, unattributed media reports from the past year have located Atul and Rajesh in Switzerland, the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Vanuatu. He was speaking at speaking at Daily Maverick’s The Gathering in March 2024, DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Money talks

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    It’s not a witch hunt. It’s a slow, badly executed pursuit of justice. Only the guilty, sleazy scum fleeing their reckoning would try to turn it into a kind of victimhood. Sounds like someone else we know. #showerhead

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F – June 1st 2024 at 08:00
    Once again the government has failed South Africa. Had they been serious about the extradition from the UAE surely someone with clout should have been sent to the UAE in stead of merely relying on the SA embassy. But even at that stage the ANC was probably more concerned about the Palestinians. Furthermore even now an extradition of the Guptas would be the cause of great embarrassment to the ANC and South Africa as a whole. Having been Zuma’s deputy president for 9 years Ramaphosa obviously knew it of the shenanigans with the Guptas and may very well have profited from it.
    Now with news if the arrest in India someone with serious clout should immediately be sent to India to bring the gangster back with their mother who has probably benefited from her son’s thieving.

    • Go to hell satan says:

      The anc government is useless madela was not a criminal but he was never allowed to go bury nor visit his loved ones a home when they were bad ridden .that indian criminal will not make it back to RSA mark my post money money changed hands here

  • Alan Watkins says:

    A quiet word from Ramaphosa to Modi, a BRICS partner, and any suspension of LOC would be of nor force or effect. But would Ramaphosa do that. The ANC want to keep the Guptas away from SA courts forever

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    @india the guptas are murderers. They have literally murdered innocent South Africans by stealing billions of Rands which would have empowered our economy, fed our hungry and provided health care for our sick. Theirs are crimes with real consequences and real victims. It is very sad that you are so far removed from this reality that you are desensitised to it to the degree that you will allow these monsters into the country, when they should be arrested on sight.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    Does anyone seriously believe Modi would allow these paragons of Hindu virtue to be extradited to SA? Now, if they were Muslims…

  • Rianna Wentzel says:

    … the Guptas … Makes me wonder what is going to happen with their case …
    And this one … Jacob Zuma’s 15-month prison term ends, after serving just two months behind bars.
    And, of course, this one … On 3 March 2009, Shabir Shaik was released on medical parole, after serving two years and four months of his 15-year prison term.

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