Affidavits link top cops to Gupta arrest case
TOP police officers - including retired Gauteng police commissioner Perumal Naidoo - were involved in the drama surrounding the arrest of controversial businessman Atul Gupta in September 2010.
Despite having left the force two months earlier, Naidoo called a Sandton colonel around 10pm on the evening of Gupta's arrest and asked to be briefed .
Gupta was arrested when his car was pulled over by police on the highway. He then refused to allow them to search him or the car.
Evidence of Naidoo's late-night call that night is contained in an affidavit forming part of the disciplinary hearing of the two Sandton constables who arrested Gupta.
The two constables, Aubrey Mlotshwa and Amos Mangena, were fired last week after being found guilty of discrimination.
Mlotshwa and Mangena arrested Gupta for interfering with police work, but the charge against the billionaire, who counts President Jacob Zuma among his friends, was dropped, and Gupta laid a counter-claim of discrimination.
The businessman complained that the two officers allegedly said to him: "You Indians don't know how South Africa works. You should go back to India."
Mlotshwa, 36, and Mangena, 30, are appealing against their dismissal and deny insulting Gupta.
According to their affidavits, they stopped Gupta and his driver, Johannes Prinsloo. They searched Prinsloo, but were stopped from searching Gupta and the black BMW X5 they were travelling in.
Gupta allegedly said he had connections within the police and he would ensure they lost their jobs.
Gupta, through his spokes-man, Gary Naidoo, this week denied making any such comments or making any calls to police officers.
"In no way did Gupta bring to bear any influence, nor his standing," Naidoo said.
" Gupta has never allowed any friendship and/or association to be the basis of securing any influence or interference in this matter."
But the Sunday Times has seen two affidavits linking Gupta to highly placed policemen.
One is written by a "Colonel Govender" from Sandton, which states that Perumal Naidoo called him after being "informed a prominent businessman was arrested and having problems with the police at Sandton".
Naidoo, although retired, said he wanted feedback on the matter. Govender then contacted a "Colonel Pillay", who was on duty, to find out what had happened.
Govender, according to his affidavit, later called Naidoo back to confirm Gupta's arrest and that he would be let out on bail.
Naidoo this week denied interfering in the matter.
"I don't know what you are talking about. I left the police a long time ago. I don't even know who Gupta is," he said.
A second affidavit, by a "Colonel M Pillay", refers to two other unnamed senior police officers from the national office, as well as the Sandton station commander, Brigadier Allan Billings, enquiring about Gupta's arrest.
"I also received a call from a coloured male colonel from the national SAPS office finding out if Gupta will be released on warning," it states.
Pillay, in his affidavit, said a black female general from the national SAPS office arrived in Sandton to assist Gupta's family, but did not approach any officer of the station.
The affidavits do not specify who contacted Naidoo to inform him of the arrest.
The constables' hearing began in January.
Lawyer Ian Levitt, representing Mlotshwa, said the appeal would be heard in the next month.
Provincial police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Tshisi-khawe Ndou, said the police would not comment until the appeal process was finalised.