Atul Gupta. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Atul Gupta. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Atul Gupta has filed an urgent court application to challenge the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) forfeiture unit from freezing R10m in his bank account.

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed to TimesLIVE that they had received Gupta’s court papers.

In a court document published on Twitter‚ Gupta says: "I wish to state at the outset that I am currently outside SA."

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 Gupta has officially been declared a fugitive. The Times of India reported that he attended a wedding in India last week but his whereabouts this week are unknown. A reward has been offered by private citizens to find the Gupta brothers.

The R10m in question that has been frozen by the Asset Forfeiture Unit relates to the Estina dairy project in Vrede‚ Free State. About R220m 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 Asset Forfeiture Unit said in court papers that only R2m was spent on the farm. Estina then allegedly transferred money to various individuals‚ including R10m to Atul Gupta. Some of the companies were linked to the Gupta family and money was also paid to the Bank of Baroda.

Read more: What you need to know about the Gupta raids

Atul Gupta filed the notice of motion at the High Court in Bloemfontein.

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.