Zuma-linked businessman suing cops

2010-09-27 22:46

Johaanesburg - Businessman Atul Gupta is pursuing "full" legal action against the two police officers who arrested him at the weekend, he said on Monday.

"In addition, a complaint has already been lodged at the Sandton police station," Gupta said in a statement.

"It (is) envisaged that a comprehensive report will be filed with the Independent Complaints Directorate."

The State declined to prosecute Gupta who was arrested at the weekend, allegedly for refusing to be searched by the police.


Colonel Noxolo Kweza told Sapa earlier on Monday that Gupta, the publisher of the new daily newspaper, The New Age, was due to appear in the Randburg Magistrate's Court.

"He was stopped somewhere in Sandton and police wanted to search him and he refused," said Kweza.

"He was then taken to the police station and he was released on a warning."

Gupta said his release was secured by his counsel, Advocate Mannie Witz.

"After a careful perusal of the docket, the State declined to prosecute as there was no substance to my arrest and therefore no prima facie case.

"Regarding the allegations by the police officers that I hindered them in the execution of their duties... this is blatantly untrue, which is borne out by the State's decision not to prosecute."

He said the police officers had no lawful cause whatsoever to stop and search his driver "as we had not contravened any laws".

Gupta "categorically" denied that he refused to be searched and that he said he was going to contact Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele.

Blatant lie

He said media reports that he said he knew all the top commissioners and could get all the police officers who arrested him fired, were incorrect.

"This is a blatant lie which the Sowetan has unfortunately published on the basis of information supplied by an alleged source. Could the source be the very same policemen themselves?"

Gupta claimed to have been a victim of xenophobic harassment in the hands of the two police officers.

His spokesperson Gary Naidoo said the police officers asked him "if he was Indian and told him that he should go back to his country, India".

Gupta is said to be a close friend of President Jacob Zuma and also funds The Thinker magazine, edited by former minister in the presidency, Essop Pahad.

His new paper, The New Age, is due to launch next month.

Gupta's brother, Rajesh, and Zuma's son, Duduzane Zuma, are business partners who own shares in steel company ArcelorMittal.

The Sowetan reported that Duduzane Zuma went to the police station after Gupta was arrested.