The Investigating Directorate (ID) says efforts to bring the Gupta brothers and their wives back to SA to face charges have intensified, with Interpol issuing red notices for their arrest.
Red notices are issued for fugitives wanted for prosecution and are issued to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition.
The ID made this announcement on Monday after the transfer to the Bloemfontein high court for trial of the criminal case of five accused relating to procurement fraud involving R24.9m paid by the Free State department of agriculture to Nulane Investment 204.
Atul Gupta and his wife Chetali, Rajesh Gupta and his wife Arti, and three others are wanted to join the five other accused.
The case will start on September 6.
Former Transnet Board member Iqbal Sharma, Nulane Investment employee Dinesh Patel, former Free State head of department for rural development Peter Thabethe, former Free State agriculture head of department Limakatso Moorosi and former department CFO Seipati Dhlamini face charges of fraud and money laundering.
The former government officials are also charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
The matter was postponed in the absence of the accused, as agreed between the ID and the defence, in the wake of Covid-19 level 4 lockdown regulations.
ID head Hermione Cronje said on Monday that efforts to bring the Guptas back have intensified.
“Interpol has issued red notices against: Atul Gupta and his wife Chetali; Rajesh Gupta and his wife Arti; Ankit Jain, former Nulane Investment Bank of Baroda account signatory; Ravindra Nath, director of Wone Management (Pty) Ltd; Ramesh Bhat and Jagdish Parekh, the directors of Pragat Investments (Pty) Ltd,” Cronje said.
The ID said the case relates to alleged procurement fraud involving R24.9m, paid between November 2011 and April 2012 by the Free State department of agriculture to Nulane Investment 204, a company owned and controlled by Sharma. From there the funds were allegedly diverted to Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd, a company owned and controlled by the Gupta family.
The R24.9m was purportedly paid to Nulane to conduct a feasibility study for the Free State’s flagship Mohoma Mobung project, on the basis that Nulane had unique skills to perform the work. The group is charged together with Wone Management, Pragat Investment and Islandsite Investments.