Three women have spoken out about their personal experience – or knowledge about – alleged sexual harassment while working for the Gupta brothers.
One of the allegations surfaced in widely leaked emails‚ the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and Scorpio reported on Thursday.
The leaked emails uncovered allegations of harassment by a former personal assistant to Ajay Gupta who only lasted 24 hours in the job after an unsettling business trip.
The woman said she had accompanied Ajay from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
She was told that she was not allowed to use her cell phone at all – not even to inform her husband that she had arrived safely.
When they arrived at their destination‚ the woman said she was plied with Coca-Cola‚ which she suspects was spiked.
She was allegedly told that personal assistants had to give Ajay massages and share a bed with him on such trips.
“I told him I was not comfortable with that and would prefer my own bed and bathroom. He then asked me to give him a massage. I declined‚” said the woman.
She eventually managed to escape and was rescued by a relative. Her irate husband was allegedly paid cash to make the issue “go away”.
She emailed her resignation to Sahara CEO Ashu Chawla. The email is part of a large cache of leaked Gupta emails.
It read: “I‚ [Name]‚ [ID number]‚ hereby hand in my resignation letter with immediate effect under the circumstances of Sexual Harassment”.
amaBhungane and Scorpio also reported on similar allegations that have been levelled at the Gupta brothers – however they have not yet officially responded to or refuted the allegations.
All of the women interviewed for the story insisted on anonymity out of fear for their personal safety.
Another former employee was quoted as saying: “All three [Gupta] brothers tried their luck with me.”
Gupta lawyer Gert van der Merwe referred amaBhungane and Scorpio to Gary Naidoo‚ who supplied an email address for the corporate communications department at Gupta-owned company Oakbay‚ which also did not respond to a request for comment on the allegations.