Ajay Gupta laughs off corruption allegations
Reclining on a black leather sofa‚ a relaxed looking Ajay Gupta brushed aside allegations of wrongdoing against him “in any part of the world” during an interview in India.
Gupta – labelled as a fugitive from justice by authorities in South Africa – laughed during a telephonic interview‚ recorded on video and broadcast by eNCA‚ while discussing the allegations against him.
The Gupta family is in India‚ according to earlier reports‚ to embark on a religious pilgrimage to a holy town at the foothills of the Himalayas.
Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba told the SABC on Monday that the Hawks‚ police and prosecutors were collaborating to ensure that the Gupta brothers returned to South Africa.
Ajay Gupta did not appear perturbed at all about the furore swirling around the family in South Africa during the recorded interview.
Tax authorities in India have raided several properties linked to the Gupta family and they have been summoned to answer questions‚ more than once‚ by authorities in that country. Gupta said during the interview that he was not aware of an investigation against him in India.
“No‚” he said while chuckling. “There is no allegation in India at all. You let me know‚ in India also‚ what allegation on Gupta family‚” he said.
“So who put the allegation‚ please let me know‚” he asked.
When told that allegations against him had been reported in the media‚ he replied: “You have to ask to the media where this allegation is coming (from). In my opinion‚ there is no allegation at all‚ in any part of the world‚ as I know. You are talking about the media …. I am sitting in India at this moment but I don’t know any allegation by any of the media‚” he said.
The publication reported on Tuesday that the National Prosecuting Authority said in papers‚ submitted to the Bloemfontein High Court on May 11‚ that it had evidence to show that Gupta-linked companies allegedly benefited corruptly from the alleged Estina Dairy Project scam.
The Gupta family is challenging the freezing of their assets in South Africa‚ which include 43 residential‚ farm and business properties‚ two aircraft‚ a helicopter‚ a Porsche‚ Lamborghini‚ Range Rovers and other cars‚ and bank accounts belonging to Oakbay Investments and Sahara Computers.
Lawyers acting for Gupta entities and family members have argued that the state has no prospect of convicting them on any criminal charges linked to Estina and described the latest state bid to freeze assets allegedly linked to that “scam” as baseless and “an abuse of process”.
Acting special director of public prosecutions‚ Knorx Molelle‚ said in papers submitted to the high court that the state could show that Gupta-owned Westdawn Investments was paid nearly R200-million from Estina’s Standard Bank account.