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Former ANN7 editor hits back at Gupta

Former ANN7 consulting editor Rajesh Sundaram has blamed Atul Gupta for their rocky start.

Rajesh Sundaram. Picture: Facebook

PRETORIA - Africa News Network 7 (ANN7)'s former consulting editor says the letter of intention to sue served on him by the television channel's management is just an attempt to gag him from further exposing irregularities in the company.

The television station's management served papers on Rajesh Sundaram on Friday blaming him for what it terms "hiccups" during the channels launch.

Sundaram fled South Africa in September, claiming widespread irregularities and intimidation at the company.

ANN7's parent company Infinity Media is partly owned by President Jacob Zuma's close friend Atul Gupta, as well as an Indian shareholder.

The weeks following the launch were fraught with on-air gaffs by editorial staff which had no prior television experience.

Sundaram says Gupta's insistence on undermining his authority as consulting editor and micro-managing the newsroom, as well as ignoring his expert advice is what led to ANN7's rocky start.

Infinity Media says the hiccups during the launch were a direct a result of Sundaram's failure to fulfil his duties.

But he says Gupta pushed ahead with the launch without all the equipment being in place and without proper training of staff.

He says it was Gupta's idea to fly in a dozen Indian personnel at the last minute who did not even speak English.

Infinity Media did not respond to a request for comment.