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Who are Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, Indian-origin brothers arrested in Dubai on corruption charges?

The Gupta brothers are accused in South Africa of using their relationship with former president Zuma to profit financially and influence senior appointments, charges that they have vehemently denied.

The Gupta brothers are accused in South Africa of using their relationship with former president Zuma to profit financially and influence senior appointments, charges that they have vehemently denied.

The South African government has announced that the UAE has arrested Rajesh Gupta and Atul Gupta, the two of the three wealthy India-born brothers of the Gupta family, who were at the centre of political corruption under former president Jacob Zuma.

The two brothers were arrested in Dubai and it remains unclear why the third brother — Ajay — was not arrested.

The Gupta brothers are accused in South Africa of using their relationship with former president Zuma to profit financially and influence senior appointments, charges that they have vehemently denied.

The Gupta brothers — Ajay, Rajesh and Atul — migrated to South Africa in 1993. Atul was the first to move to the country and start the company Sahara Computers. It started off as a small family business, but now employs over 10,000 people and has an annual turnover of about $22 billion, reported BBC

The Gupta family, originally hailing from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, entered South Africa by setting up a shoe store. They soon expanded to include IT, media and mining companies, most of which have now been sold off or closed.  

The newspaper The New Age and news channel ANN7, owned by the Guptas, paint the Zuma government in favourable colours.

Zuma’s son Duduzane was a director of the Sahara Computers and has been involved in the family’s other companies. Zuma’s third wife Bongi Ngema and one of his daughters have also been employees of the Guptas.

The Gupta brothers have been accused of influencing political decisions in South Africa and of ‘state capture’. In 2016, deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas alleged that a member of the family had offered to promote him to the minister’s post in 2015 in return for state favours.

The family fled South Africa in 2018 when the net closed in on them as huge public protests eventually led to the ANC removing Zuma and appointing Cyril Ramaphosa as the Acting President.

Earlier, South Africa had also appealed to the UN to get the Guptas back to South Africa when negotiations with the UAE did not yield results because there was no extradition treaty between the two countries.

The treaty was ratified in June 2021, when South Africa immediately began the process of requesting the extradition of the Guptas.

The Guptas told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in 2018 that they were not prepared to return to South Africa to testify after a number of witnesses implicated them and Zuma in corrupt cases.

The brothers called the South African authorities ‘recklessly incompetent’ in their affidavit to the commission. 

A number of witnesses testified the role of the Guptas in looting huge amounts and also influencing the appointment of Cabinet ministers during the nine-year tenure of Zuma as the South African president.

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