Ajay, Anil Gupta behind bars in India

Henry

Ajay Gupta and his brother-in-law Anil Gupta were arrested in India on Friday for their alleged involvement in the recent death of a prominent builder from Dehradun.

Satinder Singh Sawhney killed himself on Friday morning.

Indian media reports that Ajay and Anil Gupta are mentioned by name in a suicide letter that Sawhney addressed before his death to, among others, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The Times of India reports the builder alleges in this letter that Ajay and Anil threatened him and his business partner to hand over two major construction projects in Dehradun to them.

Sawhney claims the Gupta brothers-in-law are guilty of coercion and interference in his projects.

Chrispin Phiri, spokesperson for the South African Department of Justice and Correctional Services, told RNews on Saturday that the department had taken note of Ajay and Anil’s arrest in the open.

However, Phiri pointed out that the department is on the trail of Rajesh and Atul Gupta, not that of Ajay and Anil.

Earlier, warrants were issued for the arrest of Rajesh and Atul.

Phiri says the department has nevertheless started formal processes and is in contact with the high commissioner in India “to verify and for possible engagement”.

Rajesh and Atul Gupta were arrested in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) almost two years ago but have since eluded the authorities.

Atul and Rajesh are accused of being the central figures in the state capture of many of South Africa’s government departments. They fled the country in 2018 after the Zondo Commission began its investigative work into the large-scale allegations of corruption.

Among other things, the brothers are involved in the Nulane corruption scandal in the Free State. Charges were brought against them after Iqbal Sharma, director of Nulane Investments, reportedly received a tender of R25 million to conduct a feasibility study on the controversial Estina dairy project. The survey was outsourced to Deloitte and the company was paid R1.5 million for it. As much as R21 million was subsequently paid to Islandsite Investments, a company of which Atul and Rajesh and their wives were directors.