Atul Gupta. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/ANA

Bloemfontein - Controversial businessman Atul Gupta has succeeded in his court application to unfreeze R10 million in his bank account.

The funds were frozen by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) as the unit believed the funds were received by Atul through criminal activity.

The High Court in Bloemfontein ruled on Friday that the R10 million that was frozen by the AFU should be released.

Atul Gupta argued that the AFU had mislead the court in order to successfully obtain the court order that froze the funds in his accounts.

Judge Fouche Jordaan also ruled that about R40 million stashed at the Bank of Baroda in accounts belonging to Gupta-linked companies should remain frozen.

The court had ruled that R220 million, which the AFU had argued were funds siphoned from the Estina project, should be frozen in these Gupta-linked accounts, but Judge Jordaan has reduced the amount to R40 million.

The AFU argued in court proceedings that it had proof that the funds in Atul's account had been siphoned from the Department of Agriculture and were eventually paid to Estina.

Estina is a Gupta-linked company that was awarded a 90-year lease by the Free State government to run the Vrede Dairy Farm Project meant to benefit underprivileged farmers.
 
More than R200 million was paid to Estina for the project, but only R2 million was used for farming. The rest of the money was paid to various Gupta-linked companies.

Atul Gupta is said to have received R10 million of those funds.

Political Bureau