Johannesburg, Mar 1 (PTI) The Interpol on Monday has issued red notices against Atul and Rajesh Gupta -- two of the three Indian-origin Gupta brothers -- who fled South Africa with their families amid investigations into their alleged looting of billions of rands from state and parastatal organisations.
However, they have declined a request from the South African government to issue red notices against their wives -- Arthi and Chetali Gupta.
A red notice is an alert to all Interpol member states that an individual is a wanted fugitive, but is not equivalent to an arrest warrant. However, it strengthens the case of a country negotiating the extradition of wanted criminals from another state.
The South African government had applied for Red Notice against them seven months ago.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has described the move as “a positive development” which he hoped would allow justice to take its course.
South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been trying for several years to extradite the Gupta brothers, who are believed to have fled to Dubai in 2018.
Although their exact whereabouts remains obscure, South Africa last year had concluded an extradition treaty with Dubai and applied for their extradition.
The Guptas have been accused of misusing their proximity to former President Jacob Zuma to loot from parastatal companies, including the national electricity supplier Eskom, which is now severely cash-strapped, resulting in frequent load shedding cross the country.
The Guptas had previously stated that their extradition was politically motivated, which has been denied by the NPA.
Zuma is currently fighting the revocation of his medical parole after serving just a few months of a 15-month jail sentence imposed by the apex Constitutional Court last year because he walked out of a hearing of the commission and refused to testify further.
Lawyers for the Guptas have confirmed that they had been made aware that the NPA had "temporarily succeeded" in having red notices issued against the brothers, but stated that they would be challenging these notices on the basis of "material misrepresentations by the NPA,” according to website news24.co.za.
Outgoing head of the Investigating Directorate at the NPA, Hermione Cronje, who had led the process to get the Guptas back to South Africa, has described Interpol's move as “bittersweet.”
"This is my last day at the ID, so getting formal notification that these red notices have been issued - which paves the way for the Gupta brothers to be extradited - is bittersweet. So many people have worked very hard to make this a reality and my sincere [wish] is that their efforts translate, finally, into those allegedly responsible for state capture being held to account,” Cronje told news24.co.za.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)