Gupta lieutenant Chawla wanted Parliament to pay for him to fly business class from India

2018-10-09 14:38
Ashu Chawla (Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Mlungisi Louw)

Ashu Chawla (Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Mlungisi Louw)

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Gupta lieutenant Ashu Chawla, through his lawyer, has demanded that Parliament pay for a business class air ticket for him from New Delhi, India, to attend the inquiry into the naturalisation of members of the Gupta family.

Hlomane Chauke, chairperson of Parliament's home affairs portfolio committee, said Chawla's lawyer indicated that he was in India looking after his ill mother and, without Parliament's help, would only be back in South Africa at the end of November.

READ: Gupta citizenship inquiry: Chawla back in SA only in December, says lawyer

"His lawyers put in a demand that we must fly Chawla with a business class ticket from India," said Chauke.

Parliament found that a return business class ticket between South Africa and New Delhi would cost about R177 000.

Chawla also insisted that the committee use a Hindi interpreter.

"Chawla is a South African, by the way," Chauke said. "He's been in the country for 17 years."

'Sunglass' ID to be looked into

Chawla signed the application to Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba for the naturalisation of the family.

In the naturalisation request for Angoori Gupta, Kamal Singhala and Surya Singhala, Chawla wrote in English that the family's interests had always been focused on upliftment and social investment.

The letter submitted information about the family's investment of R1m in sporting equipment for 75 schools.

"Another ongoing project which we are very proud of is our school feeding scheme whereby we support different schools in the suburbs, where we operate by providing stationary (sic) kits, school uniforms and a takeaway lunch for every pupil at the school!" he wrote.

"Many of the kids have told us that these meals are the first time they ever had something like KFC!"

READ MORE: Hula hoops, KFC and wedding invites: How the Guptas allegedly motivated naturalisation

Chauke said the committee would also determine if the copy of Chawla's identification book, in which he appears with sunglasses, is valid.

Inquiry to sit again in December 

"This will be the only person in South Africa who can claim an ID with sunglasses," Chauke said.

Chauke also said the committee, through Parliament's international relations office, had contacted the Indian High Commission to furnish it with confirmation of whether the Gupta family members had renounced their Indian citizenship.

Thus far, there has been no response.

Chauke wants the matter to be escalated.

Gigaba will testify on Tuesday afternoon. The inquiry is expected to sit again in early December to allow for Chawla's attendance.

Read more on:    ashu chawla  |  gupta family  |  parliament 2018  |  gupta leaks

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