In their response to a legal challenge brought by Atul Gupta, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has said in new legal papers that there is clear evidence the second-eldest Gupta brother was indeed involved in theft and money-laundering linked to an alleged scam involving a farm in the Free State.
They allege he received R10 million as the proceeds of the crime.
Atul filed a high court application challenging the preservation of R10 million from his bank account by the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) AFU in connection with the Vrede Dairy Project in the Free State.
He 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 in 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 of that money is said to have been spent on the farm, while R30 million was allegedly redirected to pay for a lavish Gupta wedding at Sun City.
R10 million was allegedly deposited into Atul’s personal bank account by Estina before the project was even up and running. He denied this in his affidavit.
Gupta 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.
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.
In responding papers on Thursday, the NPA has rubbished Atul’s claim that they do not have enough documentary evidence of his alleged involvement in crime. They want a preservation order against him to be enforced.
AFU has effectively identified #AtulGupta as a criminal suspect in the alleged #EstinaDairyProject scam – and say there's clear evidence the R10million he allegedly received from the project was "proceeds of crime".
He's implicated in theft, money-laundering pic.twitter.com/ZD7OHsSVBg
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) February 22, 2018