History has been filled with the stories of the politician-businessman nexus and the nexus created quid pro quo. Where businessmen and politicians together create a large empire of business under rampant corruption, favouritism and undue influence. The story of the ‘Gupta Brothers’ is also the same. They created a huge business empire of computer equipment, media, and mining by colluding with the former president of South Africa Jacob Zuma and now facing serious charges of money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption.
The arrest of the Gupta Brothers
The South African government on Monday night confirmed that two of the Gupta brothers, Atul and Rajesh, have been arrested in Dubai.
The South African government’s Justice department confirming the report of the Gupta Brothers’ arrest said that “the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services confirms that it has received information from law enforcement authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that fugitives of justice, namely, Rajesh and Atul Gupta have been arrested.”
Earlier, a red Interpol notice was issued for the Gupta brothers who were wanted for rampant graft, fraud and money laundering in South Africa.
In 2018, when corruption charges were investigated against the former president Jacob Zuma, it was alleged that under the 9-year reign of Zuma, Gupta Brothers have made enormous money by wrongdoings in government and influencing the contract & policy business of the state.
Uttar Pradesh to South Africa
Gupta Brothers are originally from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh’s district of Saharanpur. Way back in 1993, they moved to South Africa where they established a business in computers and later expanded in other sectors.
The greed to make money through illegal means developed way back in 2003 when the then deputy president Jacob Zuma met with the Gupta Brothers at a party. The close relationship of friendship turned into a big nexus of fraud, corruption, money laundering and rigging of government contracts.
The relationship between the two was so infamous that a term, Zupta, was coined by the opposition to show the nexus. ‘Z’ for former president Jacob Zuma and ‘up’ for Gupta Brothers.
It is alleged that the government was so influenced by the Gupta Brothers that every decision related to the state policy, high-level appointments or even control of state enterprises was made for the benefit of the Gupta family. They were so close to the government that they are running a shadow Government of South Africa.
To deflect the corruption charges it was alleged that a British PR company Bell Pottinger was hired by them to deliberately manipulate and inflame racial tensions and hatred using a large number of fake Twitter and other accounts online.
Business and Politics
With the help of state bureaucrats and politicians, they diversified their business in other sectors. From information & communications technology to mining engineering, media, real estate or even entertainment, using state machinery they build a state under the state.
Comparing the ‘Zupta’ relationship with colonists, one of the main opposition parties of South Africa the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had stated that the Guptas “have de facto colonised South Africa, with Zuma being the chief colonial administrator”.
With a net worth of USD 773 trillion, Gupta Brothers 2016 became South Africa’s seventh wealthiest person. The mass favouritism in allotment of the government contract, tax evasion and corruption to the highest level had made them wealthy and at the same time fraud.
It was alleged that the highest position of his company was held by the family members of the former president of South Africa Jacob Zuma. The insane quid pro quo between politicians and businessmen made the state poor and these people wealthy. The result of this ‘open fraud’ made them the most wanted economic offender of the country and following this they had to take exile in the UAE. But the signing of an extradition treaty between UAE and South Africa made it easy for his arrest and he may bring back to South Africa where the action will be taken on grafting, money laundering and other charges.