Officials raid Gupta properties in Saharanpur - Indian media reports

2018-03-06 12:49
Ajay Gupta speaks to the media from the offices of the New Age. (Muntu Vilakazi, Gallo Images, City Press, file)

Ajay Gupta speaks to the media from the offices of the New Age. (Muntu Vilakazi, Gallo Images, City Press, file)

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Johannesburg - A massive raid on the Guptas' Indian businesses and properties is taking place on Tuesday by the country's tax authorities, media publications in India are reporting. 

According to news articles, which have been translated from Hindi, a multi-disciplinary task team led by India's income tax department raided the Guptas' house in Saharanpur as well as the office of Ajay Gupta's accountant. 

The raids are focusing on the Guptas' accounting and income expenditure records. The website jagran.com said the raid on Ajay's house began at 07:00 on Tuesday morning and a huge crowd had gathered outside, but police were not allowing anyone in or out. 

SPECIAL REPORT: #GuptaLeaks

The Indian press said that six months ago a case was opened against Ajay in relation to a fraud case in Saharanpur related to the purchase of land. 

Livehindustan.com, who said the Gupta brothers were the seventh richest people from Saharanpur, reported that the Indian authorities had seized documents from the raid and taken them into custody. They said the Gupta brothers were not there. 

Another website, Patrika.com, said that Sahara's offices in Hakkikat Nagar were also raided, as well as another property in Dehradun. 

All the Indian press reported that the brothers were wanted in SA for corruption cases.

The Hawks previously confirmed to News24 that Ajay is a fugitive from justice. 

Two weeks ago it was reported that Ajay had been at a wedding in India, when the Hawks were trying to track him down. News24 independently received information that he flew from there to Dubai

The Guptas' lawyer Ahmed Gani told News24 on Tuesday the brothers had not told him about the Indian raids and he was unable to confirm if they had taken place. 

In February, the Hawks raided the Saxonwold home of the family, among other properties. Eight people linked to the family appeared in the Bloemfontein Regional Court appeared on charges of theft, fraud, and conspiracy to commit theft and fraud.

The suspects were arrested in connection with investigations into the Free State Vrede dairy farm project.

In January, the Hawks also conducted search and seizure operations at Free State Premier Ace Magashule's offices and the provincial office of the department of agriculture.

An affidavit has also revealed that Free State's agricultural department – then under Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane – allegedly paid R220m to the Guptas and some of their associates in what the Asset Forfeiture Unit calls a "scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department".

Gifted to the Gupta-linked Estina in 2013, under a free 99-year lease by the provincial agriculture department, the farm has been one of the most scandalous transactions between the Guptas and a government entity.

The Gupta Leaks revealed in 2017 how at least R30m paid to the Guptas, via the farm, ended up funding the family's lavish Sun City wedding in 2013.

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Read more on:    gupta brothers  |  india  |  crime  |  state capture  |  corruption

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