The rich Gupta family that migrated from India in 1993 keeps making headlines regularly for one reason or the other.
It has been exposed that the controversial family had a man on the inside at state airline South African Airways.
An Indian molecular biologist Rajesh Naithani, was on the boards of both SAA.
Naithani was also on the board of SA Express, another state-owned airline.
The unmasked mole spent his time at SAA updating Tony Gupta on happenings at the beleaguered airline.
Hinnews.com are in possession of e-mails sent by Naithani to Sahara CEO Ashu Chawla for the attention of Tony Gupta.
According to these e-mails, Naithani told the Guptas about his interactions with SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni.
Naithani asked Tony Gupta for help, using Sahara CEO Ashu Chawla as an intermediary, when he was removed from the SAA board in October 2014.
He also asked for a seat on the Transnet board but was instead appointed by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to the board of SA Express in May 2015.
Explaining his appointment at the time, former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba’s spokesman, Mayihlome Tshwete, said Naithani was highly recommended.
On October 4 2014, he inquired about being nominated to the boards of SAA and Transnet.
SAA and SA Express were coy last year when asked about Naithani’s tenure on their boards, including his remuneration and whether he was flown into South Africa at the company’s’ expense for board meetings.
SA Express pays board members R27,000 a month.
David Lewis, executive director of NGO Corruption Watch, said Naithani’s presence on the board was worth looking into, particularly as he was not an aviation expert.
Two independent sources had earlier alleged that Gigaba was approached to include Naithani on the SAA board and he endorsed it. This was at the time in the context of strengthening relations between South Africa and India, two Brics nations.
Three former SAA directors that it was common knowledge on the board that Naithani represented Gupta interests and had boasted of his proximity to the family.
Naithani was on the subcommittees for audit and risk, procurement and human resources.