South Africa’s most wanted fugitive from justice, Ajay Gupta, attended a wedding and then retired to a palatial bungalow in northern India when former president Jacob Zuma resigned.
He has since flown the coop.
The Times of India reported on Sunday that Ajay – who is being sought by the Hawks – had arrived in Dehradun on February 13 after attending a wedding.
“The Guptas have a palatial bungalow in Curzon Road in the city‚ where Ajay is believed to have stayed till February 16‚ a day after the news of Zuma’s resignation broke out.
“During his stay in Dehradun‚ the businessman did not leave the bungalow and remained inside‚” The Times of India reported.
Speculation is rife over Ajay’s whereabouts. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Sunday lawyers had initially offered to cooperate with the Hawks and hand Ajay over‚ but since then had played “cat and mouse”. The Hawks are still hunting for him‚ and have sought assistance from authorities abroad.
Sygnia chief executive Magda Wierzycka and investigator Paul O’Sullivan have offered substantial rewards for information on Ajay’s whereabouts.
The Times of India reported that he had left Dehradun‚ escorted by police‚ aboard a helicopter a day after Zuma’s resignation and flew to Jolly Grant Airport‚ from where he left for an undisclosed location.
It appeared that Zuma’s resignation had forced him to abandon plans to attend marriage ceremonies in Dehradun and Saharanpur.
The Gupta brothers are reportedly given a state security detail when they are in India.
The Times of India said they had been given “Z-category security by the state government”.
A government official told the newspaper: “As far as the developments in South Africa are concerned‚ we have to date received no intimation from the South African embassy or police regarding anything related to the Gupta brothers.”
South Africa has an extradition treaty in place with India‚ where the Guptas are originally from.
However, it does not have one with the United Arab Emirates (UAE)‚ where Ajay may be now.
But this does not stop the South African authorities from requesting the UAE to hand him over.
Both countries have ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption, which may be considered the legal basis for extradition.
Ajay is wanted for his role in the Estina dairy farm scandal.
It was reported earlier that Ajay had left for Dubai on February 6. – TimesLIVE