‘I am out of the country’‚ Atul Gupta says in court papers
Atul Gupta has filed an urgent court application to challenge the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA’s) forfeiture unit from freezing R10-million in his bank account.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed that they had received Gupta’s court papers.
In a court document published on social media site Twitter‚ Atul Gupta says: "I wish to state at the outset that I am currently outside South Africa."
Breaking: #AtulGupta slams "dishonest" NPA, and claims there is no evidence that he received R10million from #Estina— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) February 19, 2018
(He appears not to know that state filed five lever arch files of bank statements as part of preservation application) pic.twitter.com/WjpzGcCbcn
The Hawks are on the record as saying that they are looking for both Ajay and Atul Gupta after raiding their home in Saxonwold last week. Ajay has officially been declared a fugitive. The Times of India reported that he last week attended a wedding in India but his whereabouts this week are not known. A reward has been offered by private citizens to find the Gupta brothers.
The R10-million in question that has been frozen by the Asset Forfeiture Unit relates to the Estina Dairy Project in Vrede‚ Free State. R220-million meant to benefit poor farmers was allegedly siphoned off from Estina to the Guptas and others. The project was established in partnership with Gupta-linked company Estina. It was adopted by the provincial government without a tender.
The AFU said in court papers only R2-million was spent on the farm. The dairy farm in Vrede was established. Estina then allegedly transferred money to various individuals‚ including R10-million to Atul Gupta. Some of the companies were linked to the Gupta family and money was also paid to the Bank of Baroda.
Gupta filed the notice of motion at the Bloemfontein High Court.
The NPA's Mfaku said the matter had been set down for a hearing on March 1. He said the NPA was currently compiling court papers to oppose the matter.