Interpol issues red notice for Guptas and associates

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Atul Gupta at the Randburg Magistrate's Court in 2011.
Atul Gupta at the Randburg Magistrate's Court in 2011.
PHOTO: Puxley Makgatho, Gallo Images/The Times
  • Head of Investigating Directorate advocate Hermione Cronje says efforts to bring the Guptas back in South Africa have intensified. 
  • This after Interpol issued red notices for the Gupta family and their associates. 
  • The fraud and money laundering case linked to the infamous Estina dairy farm project has been transferred to the Free State High Court for trial. 

Interpol has issued red notices for the Gupta family, according to the National Prosecuting Authority's Investigative Directorate (ID).

In a statement on Monday, advocate Hermione Cronje said efforts to bring back the Guptas had intensified.

"Interpol has issued red notices against: Atul Gupta and his wife, Chetali; Rajesh Gupta and his wife, Arti; Ankit Jain, former Nulane Investment Bank of Baroda account signatory; Ravindra Nath, director of Wone Management (Pty) Ltd; Ramesh Bhat and Jagdish Parekh, the directors of Pragat Investments (Pty) Ltd."

Meanwhile, the case of suspected Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma and his co-accused will be transferred to the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on 6 September for trial.

The accused were arrested in connection with a R25 million fraud and money laundering case, which is linked to the infamous Estina dairy farm project.

READ | We will fight tooth and nail to get justice for Free State people - Investigating Directorate

Sharma and his co-accused, Nulane Investment; employee Dinesh Patel; and three former senior Free State government officials, Peter Thabethe, Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dhlamini, face charges of fraud and money laundering. The ex-government officials are also charged with the contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.  ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said in a statement that the matter was postponed in the accused's absence. This was due to Level 4 lockdown regulations, which are in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

"Warrants against the accused [who ae] out on bail will be issued, yet stayed, until the next appearance. Iqbal Sharma, on the other hand, will continue to be incarcerated as he was not granted bail last month."

What is a red notice 

According to Interpol, a red notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.

"Red notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. This follows judicial proceedings in the country issuing the request. This is not always the home country of the individual, but the country where the crime was committed," Interpol said on its website.

However, a red notice is not an international arrest warrant and Interpol cannot compel law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest someone who is the subject of a Red Notice.

A red notice typically contains information to identify the wanted person, as well information about the crimes they are wanted for.

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