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Gupta firms lose bid to have Bank of Baroda remain in South Africa

Bank of Baroda said a month ago that it had pulled the plug on its South African business

Reuters  |  Johannesburg 

Bank of Baroda
File photo: Reuters

A group of almost 20 South African companies linked to the family have lost a court bid which sought to have India's of Baroda, the doing business with the firms, maintain operations in the country, court documents showed on Monday.

Baroda's South African division was thrust into the spotlight two years ago when it agreed to take on the Guptas after South Africa's major banks turned their back on the family's businesses.

Baroda said a month ago that it had pulled the plug on its South African business, citing a strategic decision to slim down in international markets.

The Guptas, a trio of India-born brothers, have been accused by the South African public anti-graft watchdog of using their friendship with former to influence policy decisions. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

In his ruling, said of Baroda's right to trade or not to trade supersedes whatever right, if any, the applicants might have, a copy of the judgment obtained by showed.

"Consequently, I refrain to exercise my discretion in favour of the applicants and accordingly decline to grant them the relief sought," the judgment said, dismissing the application with costs.

This will make it all but impossible for the companies to operate in Some of their assets such as the mine, are currently in business rescue proceedings.

documents showed last month that at least eight companies owned by the wealthy family had filed for protection from creditors.

Officials from the companies and Baroda could not be reached for immediate comment.

The country's last month declared Ajay a "fugitive from justice" after he failed to hand himself in to police, who are conducting an investigation on the family.

Pressure has been mounting on the Guptas since Zuma was forced from office last month by the ruling Congress party.

His resignation came just hours after police raided the luxury home of the family.

Indian tax inspectors last week raided premises of the family. Amrendra Kumar, a in India's state, told that the brothers were suspected of finding ways to bring "illicit money" they had earned abroad into

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 18:01 IST