On 16 February, two days before Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s most controversial president since apartheid ended in 1994, was forced to step down after losing a protracted power struggle within his own African National Congress party, Saharanpur-born businessman Atul Gupta was declared a fugitive from justice in that country. Gupta, together with Laxmi Goel, vice-chairman of Essel group of companies, and Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, own a company called Infinity Media, that runs a television channel, Africa News Network 7.
ANN7, and a newspaper, New Age, comprised a small part of the Gupta family’s sprawling business empire. The group expanded its turnover from a million Rand to almost hundred times the figure within just four years, between 1994 and 1997. (One South African Rand currently exchanges for roughly 0.08 US Dollar.) The group’s turnover had risen to around 200 million Rand, or around $22 million.