Atul Gupta has filed court papers challenging the Bloemfontein high court’s order that his bank account should be frozen because he unlawfully received R10-million from the Vrede dairy farm project.
Gupta confirmed that he is not in South Africa, saying: “I wish to state at the outset that I am currently outside South Africa.”
He claims that National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams has “failed to make out a case for the relief sought” and has asked the high court to therefore set aside the preservation order that instructs his bank account to be frozen.
The court order was made after the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit said in court papers that Gupta had been the beneficiary of “proceeds of crime” after R10-million from the Vrede dairy farm project – which was intended to benefit poor black farmers – was transferred into his bank account.
Eight people have been arrested during the Hawks’ investigation into the farm. They made their first appearance last week in Bloemfontein and all eight have been granted bail.
Gupta’s brother, Ajay, is currently wanted by South African law enforcement authorities and is considered a fugitive.
This is a developing story.