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State won't prosecute Gupta

Sep 27 2010 15:02 Sapa

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Johannesburg - The State has declined to prosecute businessman Atul Gupta who was arrested at the weekend, allegedly for refusing to be searched by the police, his spokesperson said on Monday.
   
"The docket went to the senior prosecutor this morning (Monday) and after looking at the docket, the senior prosecutor could find no case and no basis for arrest and declined to prosecute," said Gupta's spokesperson Gary Naidoo.
   
The police could not immediately confirm this.
   
Colonel Noxolo Kweza earlier on Monday said 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."
   
But Naidoo denied that Gupta resisted the search when his vehicle was stopped by the police on the R55 north of Johannesburg on Saturday evening.
   
"Mr Gupta's driver stopped when asked to stop. The driver was searched, Mr Gupta was searched and they did not resist," said Naidoo.
   
"The policemen took a very aggressive stance and harassed Mr Gupta."
   
Naidoo said Gupta at no stage threatened to call national police chief Bheki Cele as was reported in the media.
   
"Mr Gupta made no calls to anyone apart from 10111 to verify that these were policemen...
   
"He does not even know General Cele. He has not met him and neither has he ever spoken to him."
   
Naidoo said Gupta was "shoved into a police vehicle" and "driven to the police station in a police van".
   
He said the policemen asked him "if he was Indian and told him that he should go back to his country, India".
   
"The sort of trauma he encountered will take a while to heal," said Naidoo.
   
Gupta was taking advice from his lawyers on whether he should take any action against the police.
   
Gupta is said to be a close friend of African National Congress leader 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.
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