The Gupta family has come out guns blazing against a statement made by political journalist Stephen Grootes that Ajay Gupta had lied during a leaked interview between the two men posted on YouTube recently.
A statement released by the controversial family at the centre of “state capture” allegations attempted to refute the veteran journalist’s claim that some of Guptas’ answers during the interview conducted earlier this year in February seemed to have been “blatant lies”, particularly responses to questions involving the family’s close ties with Cabinet ministers Des van Rooyen and Mosebenzi Zwane.
“It has come to our attention that Stephen Grootes reported on 21st November 2016 that ‘Ajay Gupta lied’ pursuant to an interview conducted on 16th February 2016.
“Let it be recorded that Grootes’ allegation is noted but categorically denied,” reads the statement.
Grootes described the interview with the family’s eldest and influential member of the family as the toughest he had ever done in his career, saying he was surprised the interview had been released only after 10 months. He also accused the family’s London-based PR company Bell-Pottinger of withholding his recording device he had brought along to the interview conducted in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
The Guptas have warned they would take “appropriate steps” against him.
“The rights of Ajay Gupta are reserved, and appropriate steps will be taken against Grootes in the appropriate forum. Grootes is also invited to substantiate his false, defamatory claim.”