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South Africa's Gupta family, close allies of President Jacob Zuma, raided, face arrest

India Today logo India Today 14-02-2018
© India Today

South African police has raided the luxury home of Gupta brothers, close allies of President Jacob Zuma, in connection to allegations that the three brothers used their links with the president to win state contracts and influence Cabinet appointments.

The raid comes a day after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ordered Zuma to quit as head of state. Zuma's nine year presidency has seen numerous scandals and a stagnant economy.

Heavily armed police raided the Gupta home in Johannesburg and according to reports, two arrests have been made including one Gupta family members.

WHO ARE THE GUPTA BROTHERS

The Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, lived in a rickety building in Rani Bazar in Western UP's Saharanpur before moving to South Africa in 1990. And that is when things started changing for them, now the family has a Sahara Estate in Johannesburg that comprises of at least four mansions.

Gupta family's rags to riches story is seen as made possible by state patronage due to their close relations with President Zuma.

Gupta brothers have been accused of influence-peddling and swaying the appointment of cabinet ministers by South Africa's top anti-corruption watchdog.

THE MAKING OF GUPTA EMPIRE

Atul was the first from the Gupta clan to visit South Africa to explore business opportunities after being told by his father that Africa would become the next 'America of the World'.

In the 1990s, it was to open a business in South Africa so Atul decided to open a shop before finally setting up his computer business Sahara Computers in 1993.

Later, when Sahara's annual turnover got over 22 million dollars, the family expanded their business to mining, air travel, energy, technology and media.

In 1993, Shiv Kumar Gupta- the Gupta patriarch- transferred Rs 1.2 million into Atul's account. Using this money, along with another double-digit million figure, Atul opened an import and distribution selling business in 1994.

There was no looking back for the Guptas as the family now lives in a mansion worth 3.4 million dollars.

Atul and his brother Rajesh Gupta have even taken South African citizenship.

Atul met Jacob Zuma in 2002-03 and since then both the families have been quite involved. Rajesh, the younger Gupta brother, is a close friend and business partner of Zuma's son Duduzane.

One of Jacob Zuma's wives, Bongi Ngema-Zuma, worked for the Gupta-controlled JIC Mining Services and Duduzile Zuma, his daughter, was a director at Sahara Computers.

WHAT NEXT?

Besides being asked to resign by the ANC, the raid too has added pressure on Zuma. He is also facing a no-confidence motion in the South African parliament brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters, however, Zuma has a history of surviving many no-confidence motions in the past.

But the ruling ANC can add to this vote, though in such a situation the entire cabinet would have to step down if the vote went through.

Till then, the focus will remain on if President Zuma is willing to step down from the post.

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