South Africa 12.9.2018 11:22 am

Gupta ‘foot soldier’ seen wearing shades in ID photo

SA ID book of Gupta henchman Ashu Chawla. Picture: Twitter. @OUTASA

SA ID book of Gupta henchman Ashu Chawla. Picture: Twitter. @OUTASA

While wearing sunglasses in the document picture is normally not allowed, a close associate of the family appears to be exempt from this rule.

Lobby group Outa posted a picture on Twitter on Wednesday morning that appears to show close Gupta associate Ashu Chawla wearing sunglasses in his ID photo.

The organisation asks how Chawla managed to flout the rules surrounding photos for identity documents or passports.

A picture on the Western Cape government website explaining South Africa’s ID and passport photo specifications confirms that “no dark tinted lenses or heavy frames” are allowed.

The tweet sent by Outa also labels Chawla the “Gupta post office” due to his involvement in the #GuptaLeaks emails.

The alarm bells are ringing regarding former Sahara Computers chief operations officer Chawla’s alleged flouting of the rules due to past reports that the Guptas had received special treatment from SA’s home affairs.

The Citizen reported last week that the leaked Gupta emails revealed that, unlike most people who have to wait for days for their visas to South Africa to be considered, if you’re connected to the Gupta family it can take just hours.

According to the leaked emails, Major Kobese, the director of the foreign office coordination and support branch of the department of home affairs, appears to be a close ally to Chawla.

It’s alleged that on December 7 2015 at 2.39pm, Chawla copied Kobese on an email to the New Delhi First Secretary (Immigration and Civic Affairs) requesting “Dear Immigration Officer” for help.

“I hope you well. Can you please help me the get one visa by tomorrow which was submitted on Friday [sic],” Chawla wrote.

The full details of Kobese’s assisting Chawla can be read here.

READ MORE: #GuptaLeaks: How to get a visa from India, pronto

It was reported in March that two of the Gupta brothers, both South African citizens, would not be forced to return to South Africa to renew their travel documents for a long time thanks to unheard-of special treatment from home affairs.

Rapport reported at the time that Atul Gupta currently has three valid South African passports, which is normally not allowed, while Rajesh Gupta has even more – as many as six.

They reported that a valid passport was sent to Dubai three weeks ago and it was picked up by Ajay Gupta’s wife, despite Ajay being a fugitive from South Africa.

Home affairs issued two maximum-size passports to Rajesh on November 3 when calls for the family’s arrest and asset forfeiture were rising fast.

An immigration expert said that the minister of home affairs would need to give permission for a citizen to have more than one passport at a time, but he’d never heard of anyone have more than two passports at once.

Additional reporting by Amanda Watson. 

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