‘Wanted’ Gupta brothers provided Z security by Uttarakhand police

The Gupta brothers, allegedly responsible for the downfall of former South African President Jacob Zuma, have been provided Z category security at their Dehradun residence by the Uttarakhand govt

Photo by Gallo Images/City Press/Muntu Vilakazi
Photo by Gallo Images/City Press/Muntu Vilakazi

SMA Kazmi

While South African authorities are searching for the businessmen Gupta brothers, who were allegedly responsible for the downfall of former South African President Jacob Zuma, the Uttarakhand government has provided Z category security to them at their Dehradun residence. Zuma had to resign few days ago following allegedly corrupt deals involving Gupta brothers’ companies. Zuma faced pressure from his own party African National Congress (ANC) to quit on the issue.

Interestingly, one of the brothers Ajay Gupta who is on the run, was reportedly in Dehradun till February 16. According to well informed sources, Ajay Gupta left Dehradun for an unknown destination on Friday. The Guptas, who originally hail from neighboring Saharanpur, have a palatial house on Curzon Road in the posh Dalanwala locality of Dehradun.

The Guptas, who had migrated to South Africa in 1993 from Saharanpur, had a vast business empire. The deposed President Zuma and his family members had close business links with the Guptas. Zuma’s son and wife served in companies owned by the Guptas.

The Gupta brothers were provided Z category security comprising six policemen, two personal security officers and two guards. Their house is guarded round the clock by Uttarakhand police guards. According to state government officials, Guptas had been provided security during the previous Congress regime, which was upgraded to Z category on June 16, 2017 with the advent of the BJP government in the state. The Guptas are paying for the security. Dehradun Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nivedita Kukretri said that due to the security, the Guptas keep Dehradun police informed about their movements. Kukretri said that Ajay Gupta would be out of Dehradun from February 16 to 18, 2017.

Two of the Gupta brothers were also detained by Haridwar Police in 2015 for two hours, when their helicopter landed in Haridwar without prior permission. However, it was found that they had sent the fax about their arrival to the City Magistrate, Haridwar who failed to inform the police. KK Mishra, the City Magistrate, was transferred by the then state government for the negligence.

The Gupta brothers also courted controversy when the aeroplane carrying their guests from India to attend a family wedding was allowed to land at a South African Air Force air base near Johannesburg. Then President Zuma had to face an opposition onslaught on the issue.

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