Elite unit also part of Gupta raid in India

07 March 2018 - 19:13 By Ernest Mabuza
Saharanpur is the ancestral home of the Gupta brothers.
Saharanpur is the ancestral home of the Gupta brothers.
Image: Neha Poonia‏ via Twitter

It was not only police and tax officials who conducted the raid at the Gupta homes in Saharanpur on Tuesday - India’s elite Enforcement Directorate officials were also part of it.

SABC India correspondent Neha Poonia said the presence of these officials was important because the directorate was one of India’s top agencies that investigates financial crimes and money laundering.

There is speculation that officials are looking at whether there is a link between the money that the Guptas might have invested in Saharanpur and the state capture probe against the brothers in South Africa‚ Poonia said.

On Wednesday‚ Times Select said the officials behind the raids on the family home‚ a mall belonging to the Gupta brothers and the building site of a $76-million temple that the Guptas are linked to‚ are from the Indian national Income Tax and Economic Offences office and the Uttar Pradesh provincial tax authority.

Amrendra Kumar‚ a senior income tax official in Uttar Pradesh state‚ said the Gupta brothers were suspected of finding ways to bring “illicit money” they had earned abroad into India.

“We want to look into blocking that. They make all kinds of illegal money there outside. These are the allegations which we want to look into‚” Kumar said.

Poonia said the directorate and income tax officials were trying to establish the source of the money that the Gupta brothers had brought into the country.

“If they can prove this was illicit money‚ that this was money from illegal activities in South Africa‚ a probe against them and possibly arrest is possible according to Indian laws‚” Poonia said.

She said she visited the Guptas’ home town of Saharanpur last week.

“All of them told us that it is common knowledge the Guptas are slowly but steadily moving their empire to Dubai so the speculation in the home town is that they are possibly in Dubai right now.”

Last month‚ South African police raided Johannesburg properties belonging to the Guptas and their allies in connection with a probe into allegations of state capture‚ with the Hawks declaring Ajay Gupta a fugitive after he failed to hand himself over to authorities. His brothers‚ Atul and Rajesh‚ are also on the run from South African authorities.