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Ajay Gupta believed to be holed up in Botswana

Ajay Gupta believed to be holed up in Botswana
February 19
11:20 2018

THABO BAGWASI

South African fugitive and member of the scandalous Gupta family, Ajay Gupta is suspected to be holed up in Botswana.

Gupta was officially declared a fugitive from justice by the South African priority crimes agency, The Hawks.

He was declared a fugitive from justice after failing to hand himself over to the Hawks on Thursday.

Gupta was scheduled to appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Friday but never did.

South Africa’s most famous and equally controversial private forensic investigator, Paul O’Sullivan told the South African media that Gupta had specifically asked his pilot to fly him into Botswana.

The Gupta pilot eventually refused to ship his boss out of South African borders fearing inviting the wrath of the law upon himself.

O’Sullivan announced a bounty of R300,000 over the weekend while South African billionaire Magda Wierzycka also announced bounty totaling R900,000 which she stated could increase “as things evolve.”

The Guptas are currently said to be protected by a heavily armed posse of bodyguards.

The Botswana connection appeared to be the most credible lead as yet since it is alleged that it was Gupta’s express preferred destination as opposed to suggestions that he left South Africa weeks preceding.

Stated O’Sullivan in an interview with a South African news media website, BizNews: “Well that’s contradicted by the fact that we have his pilot announcing that he was about to fly him somewhere and he asked to be flown to Botswana and the pilot refused to take him, and that was yesterday. So, we do believe he’s either still in SA or he’s in neighbouring Botswana”.

South African cable news channel ENCA also speculated that possible destinations for Gupta include their hometown in India, Saharanpur, Russia as well as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which does not have an extradition treaty with South Africa.

Gupta is being pursued in connection with the siphoning of government funds form a dairy project intended for empowering disadvantaged communities.

The Estina dairy project in the Free State province was intended for 100 black emerging farmers who were promised five cows each as part of the empowerment scheme but they never received them.

Ajay, the oldest of the Gupta brothers is one of eight co-accused including his nephew, Varun Gupta and other associates including their lawyer Nazeem Howa.

The so-called Gupta Leaks series of exposes revealed in 2017 that at least R30m paid to the Guptas, via the Estina farm ended up funding the family’s lavish Sun City wedding in 2013.

The wedding itself caused a furor in South Africa as the Gupta guests from India were chauffeured  to the wedding venue in a blue light convoy after landing at the Waterkloof Air Force base in Pretoria, a national key point with a restricted military area status.

The Gupta family has been making embarrassing major news over the past years, especially in 2017 when emails from their server were leaked to the press.

The scandal eventually damaged the standing of former South African President Jacob Zuma who was labelled as a kleptocrat captured by the billionaire Gupta family.

Botswana is not new to speculation of playing host to international fugitives. British aristocrat, John Bingham otherwise more famously known as Lord Lucan was for many years alleged to be holed up in Tuli Block.

Lucan, hailing from the upper strata of English society fled the country after killing the nanny of his children in 1974.

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