High court extends restraint order to freeze assets and belongings of Guptas and Sharma to 2022

The NPA in June brought a successful application to restrain the assets of businessman Iqbal Sharma, his company Nulane Investments 204 (Pty) Ltd and Islandsite, which belongs to Atul, pictured, and Rajesh Gupta and their wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta. File photo.
The NPA in June brought a successful application to restrain the assets of businessman Iqbal Sharma, his company Nulane Investments 204 (Pty) Ltd and Islandsite, which belongs to Atul, pictured, and Rajesh Gupta and their wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times

The Free State high court in Bloemfontein on Thursday extended the restraint order to freeze assets and belongings of the Guptas and Iqbal Sharma.

The National Prosecuting Authority's Investigating Directorate (ID) spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said the court extended the restraint to March 16 2022.

In July, a director of Islandsite, Ronica Ragavan, hired her own lawyers and filed an application opposing the restraint order.

The court ruled that the directors and shareholders of Gupta-owned company Islandsite had no standing to represent the company in legal proceedings against the investigating directorate.

The order in effect means that the business rescue practitioners, Kurt Knoop and Johan Kloppers, are still in charge of Islandsite's affairs, business and property.

The court made this order after the preliminary point raised by the national director of public prosecutions that Islandsite's directors or attorneys have no standing to oppose a provisional order issued against the company, which is in business rescue.

Islandsite was placed under voluntary business rescue in 2018. However, one of its directors, Chetali Gupta, successfully sought the removal of the two business rescue practitioners in the high court in Pretoria in December 2019.

The practitioners were reinstated after they successfully appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal in December last year.

In June, the National Prosecuting Authority's Investigating Directorate brought a successful application to restrain the assets of businessman Iqbal Sharma, his company Nulane Investments 204 (Pty) Ltd and Islandsite, which belongs to Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta.

A curator was appointed to take charge of and preserve the assets, pending the outcome of the criminal case of fraud and money laundering against members of the Gupta family and Sharma.

The case relates to the failed Estina dairy feasibility case study case.


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