State throws out Gupta case

2010-09-27 10:45

The state has declined to prosecute The New Age publisher Atul Gupta because there “was no case against him”.

The businessman was arrested on Saturday night and charged with interfering with police in the performance of their duties.
According to reports, Gupta refused to be searched by police after his car was stopped in Midrand.

Speaking outside the Randburg Magistrate’s Court this morning, Gupta’s lawyer, Cliff Alexander, said Gupta “did nothing wrong”.

He said: “Police did not have a warrant to search Gupta nor his vehicle. He was unlawfully arrested and detained. He was not treated well and was manhandled.”

Alexander claimed that Gupta had asked police to identify themselves when he was pulled over, but was told to go back to India instead.

Alexander said Gupta never mentioned police commissioner General Bheki Cele’s name, as was claimed in media reports, and his cellphone records would indicate he did not call Cele or President Jacob Zuma.

He said Gupta would decide, after seeking legal advice, whether to take any legal action against the police and the Sowetan, which reported that Gupta had boasted that he knew Cele.

He said: “If you look at Mr Gupta’s cellphone records, the only calls he made was to 10111 to ascertain if those people were police.”

Senior prosecutor Annemarie Smith confirmed the case had not been placed on the court roll.

“The case was not placed on the roll since there was no case against him.”

An emotional Gupta asked if there was a New Age journalist at court and requested them not to publish the story.

Gupta said: “I don’t want The New Age to print something related to my family.”

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