It never rains but pours for Guptas

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Not just in South Africa, the Gupta brothers are now under the scanner of Indian officials as well.

Income tax officials have raided the properties of the Gupta brothers across the country.

Income Tax officials are simultaneously raiding the homes and properties of the Gupta brothers in India. The raids started early on Tuesday morning.

In their hometown of Saharanpur in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a team of Income Tax officials accompanied by police officers raided their ancestral home. This is the same home that SABC had visited last week.

The Guptas are building a 76 million dollar temple in Saharanpur in the memory of their father and the premises of that under-construction temple were also raided.

A mall that the brothers had built in Saharanpur was also searched. Several documents have been seized by officials and are being scrutinised. There are reports that relatives, friends, neighbours and employees of the Gupta brothers are being questioned.

The properties of their family friend and close associate, Amar Gupta were also raided. Amar Gupta worked with Ajay Gupta for years now and manages their assets in Saharanpur.

The raids are not just limited to Saharanpur. All properties that belong to the Guptas across India are being raided simultaneously.

Income Tax officials refuse to divulge the reasons behind the raids. However, several factors are important. The Guptas may have moved to South Africa 20 years ago, but they have kept in touch with their Indian roots.

They make at least three to four visits to India every year making it a point to visit their hometown of Saharanpur everytime. They were in Saharanpur only in February. They are known to invest a lot of money in various projects in their hometown.

They have built a mall, an old age home and have promised locals that they will soon begin work on building a hospital and a college.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, the Department of Home Affairs immigration services returned to Gupta-linked ANN7 television studios on Tuesday, arresting four people for allegedly being in the country illegally.

In February, immigration officials pounced on the premises after receiving a tip-off that some of the staffers from India did not have proper documentation.

On Tuesday, a source said immigration officers questioned staffers and then later left the premises with four people – a woman and three men.

“Jimmy Manyi tried to intervene, but to no avail. He was left hapless as officials went about their business,” said the source.

Manyi’s company Lodidox Management bought Gupta’s media interests, The New Age newspaper and ANN7. The television channel was bought for R300 million and The New Age for R150 million in 2017 through vendor financing.

The former government spokesperson is under pressure after Multichoice announced it would not renew its contract with ANN7 on its DSTV platform come August.

The controversial Gupta family, who are at the centre of state capture allegations, have since been labelled fugitives by South African law enforcement authorities, along with former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane.

They have since fled the country as the net closes around their associates and those accused of corruption linked to state capture. The state capture allegations came to light after the leaking of thousands of emails obtained from the family’s computer servers.

The arrest of ANN7 staffers came after Gigaba told reporters in Parliament on Tuesday that Ajay and Atul Gupta were not South African citizens because they refused to renounce their Indian citizenship.

This is despite leaked documents showing Gigaba’s intervention in 2013 and granting the naturalisation of the controversial family. The Department of Home Affairs were not immediately available for comment.

Additional Reporting by ANA