Hawks reportedly place borders on alert for Ajay Gupta

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JOHANNESBURG, February 16 (ANA) – Ajay Gupta, who was supposed to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court with eight accused in the Vrede Dairy empowerment project fraud case on Thursday, is being sought by the Hawks.

The Hawks said the country’s ports had been placed on high alert. The oldest of the Gupta brothers has been warned to hand himself in “to avoid embarrassment”.

Also known as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation which targets organised crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crime, the Hawks said they have a solid case against the accused, seven of whom have been granted bail of between R10,000 and R200,000.

The state alleges that millions of rand meant to benefit poor locals in the Free State were siphoned off for the benefit of the Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh. The Guptas have a friendship with former president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzani.

On Thursday the court granted bail of R10,000 to government employees implicated in the matter Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini and Takisi Masiteng.

The other suspects accused of fraud and other crimes Varun Gupta, Ronica Ragavan, Nazeem Howa and Ashu Chawla were each granted bail of R200,000.

Kamal Vasram has remained in custody while the authorities check his particulars.

The Vrede fraud matter will resume on 17 August.

Unconfirmed reports said Atul Gupta’s attempt to flee the country was foiled when a pilot refused to fly his plane.

– African News Agency (ANA)