They can keep running, but hiding will become much harder now for the Gupta family, since the issuance of a Red Notice by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).
The National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigative Directorate (ID) on Monday morning confirmed that Interpol has issued Red Notices for the infamous Gupta brothers, their spouses, and four others.
In a statement, ID head advocate Hermione Cronje said efforts to bring the Guptas back to answer for their alleged crimes in South Africa have intensified.
“Interpol has issued Red Notices against Atul Gupta and his wife, Chetali; Rajesh Gupta and his wife, Arti; Ankit Jain, former Nulane Investment Bank of Baroda account signatory; Ravindra Nath, director of Wone Management; Ramesh Bhat and Jagdish Parekh, the directors of Pragat Investments,” Cronje said.
What is an Interpol Notice?
According to Interpol, Red Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts for member countries to share critical crime-related information.
“Red Notices are published by the general secretariat at the request of a National Central Bureau and are made available to all our member countries.”
There are a variety of notices, each serving a different purpose. The Interpol website lists the following:
- Yellow Notice: To help locate missing persons, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves.
- Blue Notice: To collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.
- Black Notice: To seek information on unidentified bodies.
- Green Notice: To provide warning about a person’s criminal activities, where the person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.
- Orange Notice: To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
- Purple Notice: To seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.
- Red Notice: To seek the location and arrest of wanted persons.
What does the Red Notice for the Guptas mean?
The issuing of the Red Notice for the fugitive brothers and their accomplices means that police worldwide are now on the lookout for them.
According to Interpol, the notice contains information which will help member countries’ police to identify the fugitives, such as “such as their name, date of birth, nationality, hair and eye colour, photographs and fingerprints if available”.
It also contains information regarding the crimes they are wanted for.
Though not an international arrest warrant, it does serve as a notice of the person being wanted. Interpol explains that: “Red Notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. This follows judicial proceedings in the country issuing the request…
“When a person is sought for prosecution, they have not been convicted and should be considered innocent until proven guilty. A person sought to serve a sentence means they have been found guilty by a court in the issuing country.”
This means that though Interpol can’t compel any country’s authorities to arrest the Guptas, the Red Notice can serve to alert other countries of their alleged crimes and they can use the Red Notice to support extradition proceedings, should they choose to arrest the fugitives.
“Red Notices help bring fugitives to justice, sometimes many years after the original crime was committed,” Interpol’s website says.