NEWS
05/03/2018 05:46 SAST | Updated 05/03/2018 06:55 SAST

'Secret' Arrest Warrants Issued For Atul and Rajesh Gupta, Too

The Hawks have reportedly kept it a secret that arrest warrants are out for all three Gupta brothers.

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Ajay Gupta (in the red shirt and sunglasses) and Ronica Ragavan (in the pink shirt) at Optimum coal mine on February 07, 2018 in Middelburg.

Arrests warrants have reportedly been issued for Atul and Rajesh Gupta, for their involvement in the Estina Dairy project, although this was deliberately kept under wraps by the authorities, TimesLive reported.

Until now the Hawks have only publicly confirmed the existence of an arrest warrant for Ajay Gupta, who is now a fugitive from the law after failing to hand himself over to police. The existence of the arrest warrants for Atul and Rajesh was confirmed to TimesLive by well-placed sources and has not been publicly acknowledged by the Hawks or the NPA.

Ajay is reportedly wanted on different charges than Rajesh and Atul – his crimes allegedly involve a bid to bribe former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.

The whereabouts of the brothers is unknown, although it is clear from a recent court application by Atul that he was in Dubai earlier this year.

Sources told TimesLive that the Hawks have only confirmed Ajay's warrant because they were hoping to lure Atul and Rajesh back into the country. But this plan did not work, according to TimesLive, and now the Hawks and the NPA are blaming each other for allowing the Gupta brothers to flee.

The police are reportedly relying on Interpol to assist in their arrest, and the arrest of a Chinese woman wanted in connection with the Estina probe.

The Hawks reportedly blame the NPA for sitting on the complete Estina investigation for months, and only giving the go-ahead for the arrests in February after the Guptas had already left the country.

The Hawks and the NPA have been called to account to Parliament's portfolio committees on justice and police to explain the situation.

Atul Gupta filed court papers in February in a bid to challenge the freezing of R10 million, which the police allege is the proceeds of crime related to the Estina project. Atul told the court that he was out of the country when the police raided the Gupta homes and businesses.

He also denied having received R10 million as part of any criminal enterprise.

Meanwhile, the Guptas' jet is also missing. According to the Washington Post, an application by Canada's state owned export-import bank, Export Development Canada (EDC) to ground the Gupta jet will be heard in court on Tuesday.

The Guptas reportedly bought their plane with the assistance of a $41 million loan from the EDC and they have defaulted on the loan. Now the EDC says it is concerned that the plane will be used to help the Guptas escape justice. The plane's public tracker has reportedly been turned off.

News24 reported in February that the jet was last seen in Russia. In December, it reportedly flew from Dubai to Zurich, where it stayed for six days before going to the EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg in Switzerland.

The Sunday Times reported that Atul Gupta was spotted at the South African consulate in Dubai about two weeks ago. He was reportedly there to have documents supporting his court application certified.

He was not arrested because the department of international relations apparently had not received requests to do so from law enforcement agencies.