21 June 2024 | 09:57 AM

Photo confirms Ajay Gupta is behind bars in India

Key Takeaways

  • The State Capture mastermind was arrested along with his brother-in-law Anil Gupta after a local businessman implicated them in a suicide note.

State capture mastermind Ajay Gupta was arrested in India on Friday along with his brother-in-law Anil Gupta.

A photograph – provided by Indian journalist Ankit Paliwal – shows the duo locked in a cell in Rajpur, on the outskirts of Dehradun, a city less than 100km from the Gupta’s hometown of Saharanpur.

Provided by Ankit Paliwal, Input Editor at IANS

A document, prepared by Rajpur police – known as a First Information Report (FIR) – identifies the two accused as Ajay Kumar Gupta, born in 1966, and Anil Kumar Gupta, born in 1963. Copies of passports contained in the #GuptaLeaks confirm that the identifies are correct.

See document here: Police FIR report

See document here: Police FIR report_translated by Google Translate

Ajay – the oldest of the three Gupta brothers – is widely considered the mastermind of the family’s corrupt and fraudulent schemes in South Africa. His younger brothers, Atul Gupta and Rajesh Gupta, were arrested in Dubai in 2022 over their role in State Capture.

Ajay and Anil Gupta were arrested after a local businessman, Satinder Sahni, died after leaping from an eight-storey building.

The police report – translated from Hindi – alleges that Sahni “was being continuously blackmailed and threatened” by the Guptas over two construction projects, which ultimately contributed to his suicide.

Under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, “abetment of suicide” is a crime: “If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

A suicide note, seemingly written by Sahni (also spelled Sawhney), describes how he was unwittingly ensnared by the Guptas after his company landed two construction projects.

See document here: Suicide note

“From last 32 years I am in the business of construction. I have a clean, good reputation in my profession. Whatever work/project I took I have always delivered and completed,” he wrote. “We don’t had big money to do such volume work but we had good reputation in the market.”

Sahni went on to say that he was introduced to Anil Gupta as a potential investor who was willing to put up 85% of the funds required. “With such promises and commitments we started the work. Without knowing that Anil Gupta has some very dangerous planning in his mind.”

But as soon as work began, “Anil Gupta became silent and stop talking to us and in his place Ajay Gupta started involving in every matters,” Sahni wrote.

“In a few days Ajay Gupta created too much pressure on me and my partner because of his background and his angry behaviour of threatening … we were not able to say anything in front of him as he had a very dangerous past as he himself told us to check on Google what he has done in South Africa.”

The police report, which is based on a complaint from Sahni’s son, alleges that Ajay threatened to have Sahni arrested by police in Saharanpur if he did not comply.

“Using his influence, a false complaint was given to the police in Saharanpur… Due to which my father was being called there repeatedly by the police … he was very nervous and during this time he was continuously receiving threats from the Gupta brothers,” the report, which we have translated from Hindi, reads.

It appears from the report that Ajay was allegedly pressuring Sahni to transfer his construction company to the Guptas, failing which: “you should be ready for your son-in-law to go to jail or it will create such a situation that you yourself will commit suicide”.

In South Africa, the Guptas were accused of using pressure tactics to take over a small 3D printing business, CAD House, which was then used to receive kickbacks from software giant SAP.

However, in Sahni’s case, his son alleges that the pressure became unbearable: “He was extremely troubled by the daily harassment, insults and threats and was also very nervous due to his son-in-law’s name being falsely implicated,” the police report, quoting Sahni’s son, reads.

“This morning my father left the house at around 9 o’clock without informing me and after some time I learned that he had committed suicide by jumping from the eighth floor of Pacific Golf on Sahastradhara Road. A suicide note was found in his pocket. The suicide note mentions the threats, blackmailing and harassment being given by Anil Kumar Gupta and Ajay Gupta towards my father.”

Senior Superintendant Ajai Singh confirmed Ajay and Anil Guptas’ arrest in a video statement: “When questioned, the family told that for many days there was threat and harassment regarding partnership and profit in the company, earlier also a complaint was given by Satinder Sahni, which was under investigation. Anil Gupta and Ajay Gupta have been arrested on the basis of initial investigation and suicide letter as evidence, a thorough investigation will be done.”

News24 reports that The Department of Justice will hold engagements with officials in India following the arrest of Ajay and Anil Gupta.

Department spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said authorities were aware of the reports of the Gupta bothers’ arrest.  “The [Department] of Justice and Correctional Services has noted reports of the arrest of two Gupta brothers, Ajay and Anil, in India. Our arrest warrants were for Rajesh and Atul Gupta, nevertheless formal processes are under way through the High Commissioner in India to verify and for possible engagement,” he told News24. 

Credits

All documents and pictures were provided by Ankit Paliwal, Input Editor at IANS.

Police FIR report translated using Google Translate.

INVESTIGATOR:

Susan Comrie and Ankit Paliwal, Input Editor at IANS in India

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