Gupta Family’s Compound Raided in South Africa, Again
The raid was conducted by Asset Forfeiture Unit, South African Revenue Services, the police elite unit Hawks and South African Police Services in connection with Estina farm case
South African police on April 16 once again raided the compound of controversial Gupta family in Saxonworld, Johannesberg, Premium Times reported. Authorities seized properties, cars and aircraft worth more than 250 million rand linked to the politically connected Gupta family. The assets included luxury cars, farms, residences, a helicopter and two other aircraft.
The raid was a part of an investigation into fraud at the state-backed Estina farm dairy project in Free State province, National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku told the media. Estina Farm, which was meant to benefit black farmers, was allegedly used to siphon funds from the state.
The raids were conducted by the Asset Forfeiture Unit, South African Revenue Services, the elite Hawks police unit and South African Police Services, eNCA reported.
The NPA had obtained a restraining order to seize the Gupta family’s assets last week.
The brothers, with their close ties to former President Jacob Zuma, has been accused of using their influence to gain control of state companies and appointments in cabinet. The South African media has called it “state capture.”
Gupta and Zuma have maintained there has been no wrongdoing on their part.
Meanwhile, Ajay Gupta is said to be behind the complaint that got South African businessman Justin van Pletzen arrested in Dubai last week, Huffington Post Africa reported. Gupta reportedly opened a case of invasion of privacy against van Pletzen.
Pletzen had posted a video on social media that showed him confronting Ajay Gupta in the UAE city on April 4, following which he was arrested. What initial media reports believed the interaction took place outside the Indian consulate in Dubai, Gulf News later said that the video was shot outside the Business Atrium Centre in Oud Metha, where IVS Global, the outsourced agency for providing document attestation services to the Indian mission, is located.
Sources confirmed to Gulf News that Ajay Gupta had indeed visited the agency’s office on April 4, and said that the fugitive South African businessman holds an Indian passport issued in Johannesburg and visited the IVS office for attesting some court papers to be sent to India.
The family’s luxury jet plane Bombardier Global 6000 that was ordered grounded in a corruption probe last month flew back to South Africa on April 13, AFP reported. It landed at Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg from Dubai with just two pilots on board, the news agency reported, citing airport’s operations manager Mike Christoph.
The High Court in Johannesburg on March 19 had given the Guptas 15 days to hand over the luxury aircraft to the airport. It was grounded following a petition from Canada’s state-run credit agency EDC, along with Stone River, an insurance software company that had been leasing the plane to the Gupta family, after they defaulted on the payment of the $41 million lease fee. The bank expressed fears that the jet may be used for criminal activities.