Ajay, left, and Atul Gupta. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Ajay, left, and Atul Gupta. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has suffered a third blow in its battle to prosecute Gupta family members‚ associates and businesses over the alleged Estina Dairy Project scam — but it insists its first state capture criminal case is not in jeopardy.

Sources within the NPA have made it clear that the state is almost certain to challenge the ruling given by Bloemfontein High Court Judge Phillip Loubser on Monday‚ in which he reversed his own order to freeze R250m in Gupta assets.

It is understood that challenge will focus on alleged "glaring errors of law" in that ruling.

The state had sought to preserve Gupta assets including 42 properties‚ luxury cars and a helicopter until it successfully convicted the Gupta brothers’ nephew, Varun, and other key players in their business empire on charges of fraud and money-laundering connected to alleged Estina criminality — and could then seek the forfeiture of these assets as a mechanism to recover the benefits of the alleged scam.

Judge Loubser ruled that there were not reasonable grounds to conclude that the Gupta associates charged over the Estina scandal would be convicted‚ and hence he had to lift the order he had granted.

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