The directors of a Gupta-owned company in business rescue have filed for leave to appeal a judgment of the Free State High Court (Bloemfontein), which found that they had no standing to oppose a restraint order without the approval of the company's business rescue practitioners, reports News24.

Lawyers representing the company directors asked the court to postpone hearing arguments in the confirmation of the restraint order, granted in favour of the NPA and Investigating Directorate (ID) to restrain assets belonging to alleged Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma, his company Nulane Investments 204 (Pty) Ltd and Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd.

According to the NPA, Islandsite belongs to Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta.

The interim restraint order was granted in June 2021. However, Advocate Mike Hellens SC, representing Islandsite Investments, wants that interim order to be extended, and has asked for a postponement, pending a SCA leave to appeal bid.

The leave to appeal was filed yesterday, Hellens told the court, adding that this meant the efficacy of the High Court's order would be suspended.

He said if the court were to hear arguments yesterday, it would mean the ‘door is shut’ for his clients.

‘As a matter of law, this matter cannot continue because we are entitled to go to the SCA,’ he said.

Advocate Geoff Budlender SC, for the ID, argued the application for a postponement should be dismissed.

He said the contemplated appeal to the SCA ‘lacks foundation and merit’, says the News24 report.

Budlendler also noted the NDPP was requesting international co-operation for Sharma's bank records.

The court is expected to deliver its verdict this morning.

News24 previously reported that, in August, the High Court ruled that Islandsite's directors, including Gupta business associate Ronica Ragavan, had ‘no standing’ to oppose the restraint order. It said that business rescue practitioners Kurt Knoop and Johan Kloppers were the only ones who could represent the group.

Ragavan then applied for leave to appeal the decision in the High Court, but failed.

They have now approached the SCA.

Full News24 report