22/02/2018 06:13 SAST | Updated 22/02/2018 06:13 SAST

Hawks Insist: Ajay Gupta Is A Fugitive From The Law, After Gupta Lawyer Denial

The Gupta brothers' lawyer says he does no know what the Hawks want with Ajay Gupta.

Mlungisi Louw/Netwerk24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Eight suspects associated with the theft of R220-million from the Free State's Estina dairy farm project appear at the Bloemfontein Commercial Crimes court on February 15, 2018 in Bloemfontein.

The Hawks have insisted that there is a warrant of arrest out for Ajay Gupta, after his lawyer reportedly denied that his client was a fugitive of justice.

On Wednesday, eNCA reported that the Guptas' lawyer says there is "major confusion" over what Ajay Gupta has been charged with, and wants to see the arrest warrant.

He also denied that the brothers were fugitives from the law, in an interview with eNCA.

The lawyer reportedly added that the Guptas were not in the country when the raids on their properties were conducted, and said he is in the dark over what Ajay Gupta is alleged to have done wrong.

But the Hawks told Eyewitness News (EWN) that there is an arrest warrant out for Ajay Gupta and that he must hand himself over to the police. They reportedly said it is unheard of for a lawyer to demand the arrest warrant, as it is issued against the suspect and not the lawyer.

Ajay Gupta was reportedly supposed to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates' Court last week along with eight others on fraud and money-laundering charges. They appeared on charges relating to the Estina dairy farm project.

There are conflicting reports as to Ajay Gupta's whereabouts. Indian media have reported that he was in India until recently, but News24 reported this week that he is at his mansion in Dubai. His brother, Atul, was in Dubai until at least February 8, when he signed an affidavit that forms part of his application to challenge the freezing of his assets by the NPA's Asset Forfeiture Unit.

The NPA told eNCA that it has not yet made an extradition request for Ajay Gupta. This will probably be made to India or Dubai in the future, according to reports. The NPA's Luvuyo Mfaku reportedly said the request has not been made because, once it is granted, authorities will only be able to prosecute Ajay Gupta on the charges mentioned in the request. As the investigations are ongoing, and the NPA cannot rule out the possibility of more charges, it is too early to issue an extradition request.

"There is no formal extradition process that has been initiated... so you are not prohibited from charging them on the other investigations that are still outstanding," Mfaku reportedly said.