21 October, 2020

National News As Private Party

A TV journalist burnt his fingers in a Gupta brothers’ venture in Zuma’s South Africa. His pacy account is an indictment of a thoroughly corrupt regime.

National News As Private Party

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.

By the time Atul Gupta, the second of three Gupta brothers who ran the Sahara group (not related to...



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