NEWS
15/02/2018 06:16 SAST | Updated 15/02/2018 06:16 SAST

Hawks To Atul: Hand Yourself Over To Us

Ajay Gupta has reportedly been arrested while the Hawks are demanding that Atul hand himself over.

Police close off roads around the home of the Gupta family, friends of President Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/James Oatway
James Oatway / Reuters
Police close off roads around the home of the Gupta family, friends of President Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/James Oatway

Atul Gupta must hand himself over to the Hawks or risk being branded a fugitive from the law, Business Day reported on Thursday. The Hawks have reportedly told Atul's lawyer by phone and by SMS that he must hand himself over, after his lawyer told the media that none of the Guptas had been arrested on Wednesday.

Two Gupta associates and the nephew of one of the Gupta brothers will appear in court in Bloemfontein on Thursday on charges of corruption and money-laundering, TimesLive reported.

The Hawks conducted raids on various Gupta properties on Wednesday, including the family compound at Saxonwold. Five people were arrested, including one Gupta brother, Ajay, in connection with the Vrede dairy farm matter.

The Hawks also raided the Guptas' Oakbay Investment offices in Sandton on Wednesday morning, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported. Sources claimed that President Jacob Zuma's son and the Guptas' business partner Duduzane Zuma were seen at the offices on Monday.

According to TimesLive, the three Gupta associates due to appear in court include Gupta employees Ashu Chawla and Ronica Ragovan.

Two suspects who were expected to hand themselves over to the Hawks failed to do so on Wednesday night, according to Eyewitness News. One of the suspects reportedly asked to rather appear in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Thursday.

The Hawks told Business Day that "the law will have to take its course" should the second suspect refuse to cooperate. It is unclear who these two suspects are.

On Wednesday night, City Press reported that one of the Gupta brothers and former Free State agriculture department head Peter Thabethe could have appeared before a magistrate if one could be found overnight. If not, the two are reportedly due to appear in the Commercial Crimes Court in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

Business Day quoted a "reliable" source in the Hawks who reportedly said, of Atul Gupta, "you bring that man, if you don't bring him now you must know that he will be regarded as a fugitive."

The Guptas are accused of being behind a massive scam in which R220-million meant for a scheme to support emerging black farmers in the Free State was diverted to Gupta bank accounts offshore. The money was allegedly used to pay for the Gupta family wedding in 2013.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has obtained a preservation order from the High Court in Bloemfontein, seizing the Vrede Dairy Farm, where the scheme was to take place, and government grants worth R220-million which were allegedly routed to Gupta companies, according to Business Day.

More arrests are expected, according to eNCA, although no cabinet ministers are on the police's radar at the moment.

The Hawks will be invited to brief the portfolio committee on police on the Vrede farm investigations, according to News24.