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#GuptaLeaks: How the Gupta Network Functioned as a Clandestine Surveillance Hub

Published December 26, 2023
7 months ago

The depths of espionage-like activities orchestrated by the infamous Gupta family have been further revealed through the comprehensive data trove known as #GuptaLeaks. The information indicates how the family and their confidants maintained covert surveillance on an array of prominent South African figures, including the former finance minister Trevor Manuel, Absa CEO Maria Ramos, and EFF leader Julius Malema, among others. As much as the Guptas have been embroiled in state capture allegations, this facet of their operations exhibits the lengths they would go to in order to monitor their adversaries and seemingly secure influence.


Documents procured from the leaks uncover that Ashu Chawla, a name synonymous with Gupta operations, had been privy to highly confidential travel information of several individuals who were seen as opposition to the Gupta's maneuvers. The excruciating detail of this information, down to ID numbers and specific flight dates, suggests a level of infiltration into state systems that is as alarming as it is illegal. Confirmations from Malema, Manuel, and Ramos about the authenticity of their own details in these documents underscore the grave privacy breach and potentially criminal implications of such espionage.


The nefarious surveillance activities didn't happen in isolation. There were signs of moles placed strategically within key government agencies, like the department of home affairs, feeding the Guptas with sensitive and high-level official information. Individuals like Gonasgaren “Sagie” Mudley, a department of home affairs employee, appears to have direct communication with the Guptas, going as far as sharing his resume, and top-secret security clearance documents. Such actions, as highlighted by governance experts, are outrightly illegal and compromise governmental operations.


Notably, the details surrounding how Chawla obtained the travel details are murky, though the broad span of unrelated materials in the GuptaLeaks paints a picture of extensive insider operations led by the Guptas. From emails to documents detailing the inner workings of government positions and confidential data, there is enough evidence to suggest an organized network systematically collecting information for the Guptas' benefit.


Instances of Gupta spies within the DHA, like Gideon Christians, an assistant director for immigration services at Cape Town International Airport, further build the case of a full-blown spying operation. The sharing of sensitive government documents, such as the foreign missions' budget details, illuminates the degree of exploitation within South African state structures.


This intricate web laid bare by the #GuptaLeaks opens up severe concerns about national security, the integrity of government agencies, and the sanctity of privacy for South African citizens. It begs for the scrutiny and necessity to reinforce data protection protocols and the country’s counterintelligence measures.



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