“Ajay lied” – Guptas threaten interviewer over claims

By Drum Digital
23 November 2016

The Gupta family has threatened to take action against veteren journalist, Stephen Grootes, who has claimed that Ajay Gupta lied during an interview

The Gupta family has threatened to take action against Eye Witness News reporter Stephen Grootes, who has claimed that Ajay Gupta lied during an interview conducted in February 2016.

Writing an for online news source The Daily Maverick on 21 November, Grootes explained how he was excited, but sceptical, when offered the opportunity of an exclusive interview with Ajay, who is largely implicated in the Public Protector’s State Capture Report and was already a controversial figure at the time.

Grootes says the Gupta’s international PR company, Bell-Pottinger, asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement before he would be allowed a one-hour interview at the Gupta’s Saxonwold home. He also described how it is common practice for PR companies to use stage-managed interviews to improve the image of beleaguered clients.

The PR company also said it would record and edit the video session. However, Grootes informed them that he would bring his own recording device for back up.

In The Daily Maverick, Grootes said he informed the PR company and Ajay Gupta that they could hold onto the recording until the interview is released, but after the interview was released it was not returned.

Grootes claimed that throughout the interview process Ajay Gupta lied to him repeatedly, but the Guptas are denying this and threatening action against Grootes.

A statement by the Gupta family released on Wednesday stated: “Let it be recorded that Grootes’s allegation is noted but categorically denied. The rights of Ajay Gupta are reserved and appropriate steps will be taken against Grootes in the appropriate forum.”

The Gupta family have asked Grootes to substantiate his claims, which they call “false” and “defamatory”.

The video interview was leaked on YouTube by Bell Pottinger on 20 November, but is believed to have been edited to preserve the Gupta family reputation.

Watch the video interview here

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