The Gupta family have turned to the Constitutional Court in their battle to get control of some of their biggest companies out of the hands of business rescue practitioners (BRPs) – who they have been accused of maliciously implicating them in criminal conduct.
"The Guptas are not on trial in this application," the family's attorney, Rudi Krause, states in papers filed at the country's highest court, where the Guptas are fighting to have Kurt Knoop and Johan Kloppers removed as BRPs for their companies Islandsite Investments One Hundred and Eighty and Confident Concepts.
In that application, Krause slams Knoop and Klopper for making what he describes as "gratuitous allegations of criminal conduct" against the family and its associates – and violating their rights to a fair trial.
But lawyers for Knoop and Kloppers have rubbished attempts by Krause to challenge the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling, which reinstated them as business rescue practitioners for Gupta-owned Islandsite Investments One Hundred and Eighty and Confident Concepts, as legally and factually baseless. They contend the Constitutional Court must dismiss the family's appeal bid without even hearing it.
Islandsite owns 40% of Oakbay Investments, as well as the Gupta mansion in Saxonwold and the family's luxurious home in Constantia, Cape Town. According to the company's business rescue plan, its total market value stood at R513.8 million and its creditors totalled R776.9 million. Confident Concepts owns several other Saxonwold properties and the total market value of its assets stood at R174.3 million, with R198.4 million in creditors. The shareholders in both companies – which are reportedly the subject of ongoing law enforcement investigations – are Chetali Gupta and her husband, Atul, and Atul's brothers, Ajay and Rajesh.