The South African government announced on Monday that law enforcement officials in the UAE had apprehended Rajesh and Atul Gupta of the Gupta family. Through their relationships with former President Jacob Zuma, the Gupta brothers are accused in South Africa of benefitting financially and influencing important appointments.
When a court panel began probing the Gupta brothers’ participation in corruption in 2018, Rajesh and Atul Gupta were believed to have escaped South Africa. Ajay, a third brother, is also being sought by South African authorities. However, it’s unclear why he hasn’t been apprehended yet.
According to officials, the Gupta family went into self-exile in Dubai in 2018 after stealing billions of Rands from South African institutions. According to a statement by the South African Department of Justice read, “The ministry of justice and correctional services confirms that it has received information from law enforcement authorities in the UAE that fugitives of justice, namely Rajesh and Atul Gupta have been arrested.”
Media Statement : Ministry of Justice confirms Gupta arrest pic.twitter.com/jkNc3fkirN— Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services 🇿🇦 (@Min_JCS) June 6, 2022
“Discussions between various law enforcement agencies in the UAE and South Africa on the way forward are ongoing. The South African government will continue to co-operate with the UAE,” it added.
Although the arrests were welcomed, commentators warned that the public should not anticipate a rapid resolution to the case against the Guptas, which might take years as they exhaust all legal means to oppose extradition to South Africa.
Who are the Gupta Brothers
The Gupta brothers, Ajay, 56, Atul, 53, and Rajesh, 51, are Indian-born and belong to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. In the early 1990s, they established a shoe store in South Africa. They quickly grew to encompass IT, media, and mining firms, the majority of which have since been sold or shuttered.
Interestingly, various claims have surfaced over the years concerning the Gupta brothers and Jacob Zuma being involved in the rampant corruption during his presidency, so much so that South Africans invented the moniker “Zuptas” for them. There have also been various rallies throughout the years in which South Africans said that they do not recognise the Gupta brothers as their “President.”
Gupta brothers and their alleged links to ex- Congress leader Kapil Sibal
While looking into Zuma’s ties to the Gupta brothers, South African investigative websites AmaBhungane and DailyMaverick had discovered his business dealings with another questionable businessman named Piyoosh Goyal, and Goyal’s dealings with former Congress leader Kapil Sibal. According to Daily Maverick and AmaBhungane, Kapil Sibal’s family, his wife Promila Sibal, and his son Akhil Sibal, who is also a lawyer – and the families of Piyoosh Goyal and the Gupta brothers took a chartered flight from Delhi to Mumbai to watch the final of the 2011 Cricket World Cup between India and Sri Lanka, a charge that Kapil Sibal and his son have categorically denied.
An independent inquiry by OpIndia also revealed that Kapil Sibal had bought a dead firm and an expensive piece of land from Piyoosh Goyal for a modest price and that the two’s financial activities were a bit murky. Following our inquiry, Kapil Sibal’s unwillingness to answer our question, and his later reversal of what he had previously told South African media, Sibal threatened to sue OpIndia.
Following the OpIndia investigation, the Income Tax department had initiated an inquiry into Kapil Sibal’s land purchases in 2018.