Judge orders state to pay Gupta costs in Estina farm case

Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Muntu Vilakazi, Gallo Images, City Press, file)
Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Muntu Vilakazi, Gallo Images, City Press, file)

Johannesburg - The national director of public prosecutions has been ordered to pay the costs of lawyers hired by Atul Gupta and four companies linked to his family, after they opposed the seizure of assets linked to the Estina dairy farm in the Free State province.

Bloemfontein High Court Judge Andre Fouche Jordaan said on Friday he was amending the original preservation order.

State prosecutors earlier this year alleged Gupta illegally received R10m of taxpayers’ money that was meant to have been invested in the government-backed dairy farm.

The National Prosecuting Authority froze the project’s assets on January 19 after more than R220m destined for the farm was said to have been transferred to Gupta, via the Bank of Baroda, and a number of companies and associates.

Those parties fought back, saying there was no evidence they received the proceeds of crime and asking that the funds be released.

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