Gupta brothers- Rajesh Gupta and Atul Gupta, who had been accused of corruption in South Africa for many years, have been arrested in the United Arab Emirates. The Government of South Africa on Monday, June 6th, said that the law enforcement officials in the UAE arrested Gupta brothers of the Gupta family.
The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) had issued a red carpet notice against both of them. The arrests come a year after the UAE ratified an extradition treaty with South Africa. It is the biggest step yet in South Africa’s fight to bring to account the kingpins accused of orchestrating the looting of its state companies.
Who are the Gupta Brothers?
The Gupta family originally hails from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, from where they went to South Africa 24 years ago, in search of a business opportunity. They began with setting up a shoe store in South Africa in the early 1990s.
They soon expanded their business to many fields including IT, Media and mining companies (most of which have now been sold off or closed). Slowly their business spread and they became one of the top ten wealthy business families of South Africa.
The Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh had also started The New Age (TNA) Newspaper which had been closed. All three brothers were living in Dubai. It also remains unclear why the third brother, Ajay, was not arrested.
Why have they been arrested?
The main reason behind their arrest is said to be political corruption that shows their links with former South African President Jacob Zuma. A judicial inquiry into state graft which takes more than three years detailed the connection between Gupta brothers and Zuma, who was holding the chair of the President from 2009 to 2018, with numerous witnesses alleging that they worked hand-in-hand with government to win contacts, misappropriate state assets, influence cabinet appointments and siphon state funds, however, Guptas and Zuma denied all these allegation against them.
The current President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said that at least 500 million rand (USD 32 million) was stolen during Zuma’s nine years in power. The current administration first asked the UAE authorities to extradite members of the accused Gupta family in 2018.
The same year the United States imposed restrictions ranging from Visa ban to asset freezing on them. The United Kingdom followed suit last year and Interpol placed the two brothers on its list of most wanteds in February .
— Dubai Policeشرطة دبي (@DubaiPoliceHQ) June 7, 2022
— IANS (@ians_india) June 7, 2022