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Gupta brothers Rajesh and Atul arrested in Dubai on corruption charges, confirms South Africa

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The United Arab Emirates had arrested Rajesh Gupta and Atul Gupta, brothers who face charges of political corruption under former South African President Jacob Zuma, the South African government said on Monday. It remains unclear why the third brother Ajay was not arrested.

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In April 2021, The two countries ratified an extradition treaty, but it was not immediately clear whether the arrests would lead to the brothers’ return to South Africa.

The South African Department of Justice and Correctional Services said in a statement, “The ministry of justice and correctional services confirms that it has received information from law enforcement authorities in the UAE that fugitives of justice, namely Rajesh and Atul Gupta have been arrested.”

It also added, “Discussions between various law enforcement agencies in the UAE and South Africa on the way forward are ongoing. The South African government will continue to co-operate with the UAE.”

The brothers are accused of using connections with Zuma, who ruled from 2009 to 2018, to win contracts, misappropriate state assets, influence cabinet appointments and siphon off state funds. Jacob Zuma and the Gupta brothers deny any wrongdoing.

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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.

In 2018, The Indian-born brothers left South Africa after Jacob Zuma was ousted. An inquiry was established in 2018 to examine allegations of corruption during Mr Zuma’s years in power.

In April 2021, The UAE ratified an extradition treaty with South Africa, a move that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government hoped would lead to the return of the Guptas to face charges. South Africa’s largest opposition party welcomed the arrests.

The Democratic Alliance said in a statement, “We hope that this is indeed the beginning of arrests and prosecution of those who have – locally and abroad – looted our country for years and are directly responsible for the hardships that millions of South Africans face today.”

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