Gupta associate makes demands in exchange for testifying at Parly inquiry

Ashu Chawla, who is currently out on bail in the Vrede Dairy Project matter, also wants a Hindi interpreter present.

A screengrab of MPs presiding over a parliamentary inquiry into the naturalisation of members of the Gupta family.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's inquiry into the naturalisation of the Gupta family has heard that a former chief executive of Sahara Computers will only testify if he is flown back from India on a return business class ticket.

Ashu Chawla, who is currently out on bail in the Vrede Dairy Project matter, also wants a Hindi interpreter present.

The inquiry resumed on Tuesday with several home affairs officials back before the committee to explain how members of the Gupta family became South African citizens.

Ronald Steyn, a Home Affairs official who was based at the South African embassy in New Delhi, says he has never met any of the Gupta family or their intermediary Ashu Chawla.

But he says Chawla did on occasion email or call him to ask about applications for work visas for Sahara Computers and Infinity Media.

Steyn says that in the two years he was based at the New Delhi office the High Commissioner would inquire about the visa progress for Gupta employees.

“The High Commissioner would follow up on the inquiry from me, and how far and when they would be processed.”

Steyn says he was never given reasons for his transfer to Germany, and he never asked.

He has since returned to South Africa.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)