At least three close Gupta associates‚ including the nephew of controversial brothers Atul‚ Ajay and Rajesh Gupta‚ are to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Thursday on charges of money laundering‚ corruption and theft of state money.
The three – who include Gupta lieutenants Ashu Chawla and Ronica Ragovan‚ and nephew Varun Gupta – were among five people arrested in raids by the Hawks early on Wednesday morning.
At least another two suspects are to hand themselves over at court tomorrow.
The raids were carried out on the Gupta family’s Saxonwold compound‚ homes in Bedfordview and Houghton‚ as well as at the Sahara Computer head office in Midrand‚ Johannesburg. Simultaneous raids were also carried out at Free State provincial government offices.
Sources close to the suspects’ legal teams confirmed that those on the State’s list of suspects included Ragavam‚ Varun Gupta and Chwala.
The source said the charges being levelled against the suspects included money laundering and theft of state money. But he rubbished the charges.
“These charges are flimsy at best and are actually a joke‚” the source said. “The team of lawyers representing the accused are confident bail will be granted given that the State has nothing.”
However‚ Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said they were confident of their case.