Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
19 Feb 2018
4:00 pm

Atul Gupta challenges R10m Estina preservation order

Thapelo Lekabe

Gupta has also confirmed in court papers that he is 'out of the country'.

Atul Gupta, the second eldest of the three Gupta brothers, has filed a high court application challenging the preservation of R10 million from his bank account by the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in connection with the Vrede Dairy Project in Free State.

Gupta wants the preservation order to either be reconsidered or set aside by the Bloemfontein High Court.

Last month, the AFU obtained the order in relation to the controversial dairy project which the Gupta family and their associates – through their company Estina – allegedly siphoned off more than R200 million meant to benefit emerging black farmers in Vrede. Only R2 million is said to have been spent on the farm.

R10 million was allegedly deposited into Atul’s personal bank account by Estina before the project was even up and running.  He has denied this in his affidavit.

Gupta has also confirmed that he is out of the country.

“I wish to state at the outset that I am currently outside South Africa,” the affidavit posted on Twitter by eNCA specialist reporter Karyn Maughan stated.

On Monday, the NPA confirmed it had received the papers.  The public prosecutions body said it would challenge the application which was expected to be heard on March 1.

Last Thursday, seven of the eight people arrested by the Hawks during raids at the Gupta’s compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, were granted bail in the Bloemfontein Regional Court.

Government officials Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini and Takisi Masiteng were each granted R10 000 bail, while Gupta-linked accused Varun Gupta, Ronica Ragavan, Nazeem Howa and Ashu Chawla were each granted R200,000 bail. The Hawks have officially declared Ajay Gupta a fugitive.

 

– Additional reporting African News Agency

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