South Africa Judge Rules in Favor of Atul Gupta to Unfreeze 10 Million Rand

first_imgSouth African businessman Atul Gupta’s bid to unfreeze the 10 million rand in his personal bank account was successful following a high court decision in his favor on March 9.Judge Fouche Jordaan, presiding over the case in Bloemfontein High Court, ruled that the money must be unfrozen even as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) argued that the scandal-hit Gupta family allegedly looted 200 million rand from Estina Dairy farm project in South Africa’s Free State province, BloombergQuint reported. According to the NPA, Atul Gupta received 10 million rand share ($839,849) of taxpayers’ money that was supposed to be used as investment in the government-backed dairy farm.The NPA froze the project’s assets on Jan. 19 after it was revealed that more than 200 million rand has been transferred to Gupta, with the help of South African branch of Bank of Baroda and a number of companies and associates. Atul Gupta and associates applied to the same court to reconsider its position in February in an affidavit filed from Dubai while Bank of Baroda also cried foul after some of its funds were frozen.The court further ordered the National Director of Public Prosecutions to pay the costs of lawyers hired by Atul Gupta and four companies linked to his family.Meanwhile, South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on March 8 filed a motion in parliament against Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba over his ties with the Gupta family, Xinhua reported.Gigaba was being pulled up by the DA for “misleading the parliament and nation” about the citizenship status of the Guptas. The motion came after Gigaba said on March 7 that neither Ajay Gupta or Atul Gupta are South African citizens, something that is in contradiction to Gigaba’s statements last year, which said that the family were awarded South African citizenship in 2016 for their “contributions to the economy,” Huffington Post reported. Gigaba said on March 7 that Ajay did not renounce his Indian citizenship while Atul never applied for South African citizenship.However, Xinhua quoted DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs Haniff Hoosen as saying: “The DA can also confirm that Atul Gupta, Arti Gupta, Shivani Gupta, Rajesh Gupta and several more Gupta family members are all registered voters on our voter registration system. This was not revealed to Parliament as is required by law.”Gigaba didn’t appear before parliament to answer questions, reportedly citing illness.The High Court in Pretoria found that Gigaba “deliberately told untruths under oath” about Guptas’ citizenship last December.Meanwhile, Bank of India on March 9 said it has an exposure of Rs 27.58 crore to Gupta family companies and has a back-up of over 100 per cent security against the loan.The whereabouts of the Guptas and their private luxury jet are currently unknown. Related ItemsGupta FamilySouth Africalast_img

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