14/03/2018 07:46 SAST | Updated 14/03/2018 07:46 SAST

Ajay Gupta Fled India On The Day Zuma Resigned

"He took a helicopter from his own helipad in Dehradun to fly to the local airport, then took a flight and nobody knows where he went."


On the day that former president Jacob Zuma resigned, 14 February, Ajay Gupta boarded a helicopter and fled his hometown in India. According to Eyewitness News, an Indian reported, Venkat Narayan, says Gupta was in the country when Zuma resigned.

"Ajay was supposed to stay in Dehradun till 18 February but as soon as he heard that Mr Zuma resigned then he took a helicopter from his own helipad in Dehradun to fly to the local airport, then took a flight and nobody knows where he went," Narayan reportedly said.

He also said the Indian government denied that the Guptas had Indian citizenship.

"So the spokesman of the government of India said that 'they are not Indian citizens, they are South African citizens and it is up to the government of South Africa to take it up with the authorities in Dubai and they have not approached us so far'," he reportedly said in an interview with Talk Radio 702.

The Indian government reportedly said this because Narayan had asked a spokesperson if the government intended extraditing the Guptas, as Indian authorities had raided their homes.

Tax officials raided the Guptas' home in India, according to IOL, a little over a week ago. Officials were reportedly suspicious that the Guptas might be bringing illicit funds into their country. Ajay Gupta remains a fugitive of justice after an arrest warrant was issued against him by the Hawks.

But the South African government denies that Ajay is a South African citizen. The government insists Ajay is a permanent resident, not a citizen.

On Tuesday, the Mail & Guardian reported that home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba told Parliament that Atul Gupta became a citizen in 2002, and his brother Rajesh became one in 2006. But Ajay's application was denied, although he was granted permanent residency.

On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported Gigaba had instructed his director-general Mkuseli Apleni to investigate how Ajay obtained permanent resident status in South Africa, and to find out how to withdraw it. Gigaba reportedly spoke to president Cyril Ramaphosa about the matter.

On March 6, Gigaba reportedly said Ajay was not a South African citizen because he had refused to renounce his Indian citizenship after applying for South African citizenship, according to IOL.