Guptas slam preferential treatment claims

2013-04-30 10:49

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The Gupta family has hit out at negative reports on the family’s use of Air Force Base Waterkloof to fly in guests for this week’s family wedding, billed as South Africa’s super nuptials of the year.

Haranath Ghosh, spokesperson for the multimillion-rand wedding to take place at Sun City, told City Press that the Guptas were unhappy about inferences that the family was getting preferential treatment to use the military airport for private guests.

Ghosh said the family obtained permission from defence authorities to use the base to fly in dignitaries, including foreign ministers, from abroad for the wedding of Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia.

The airport was a hive of activity this morning as private jets flew in guests including government dignitaries who were transported in luxury cars and with VIP protection.

More than 100 foreign guests arrived at the air force base this morning.

The arrivals section was transformed into a luxury lounge, decked with couches, carpets and tables, with guests enjoying drinks prepared by mobile bar specialists LiquidChefs.

Ghosh said they had booked Lanseria Airport, but it was found to be too small to cater for the big jets expected this morning and they received permission from authorities to use the airport, as they would also be flying in dignitaries.

Guests were transported to the five-star Palace of the Lost City at Sun City, which has been booked out at R5 500 for each of the 338 rooms. Some of the luxury cars transporting guests included a fleet of Range Rovers, Porsche Cayennes and Mercedes-Benz Vianos. A handful of guests got into a hired bus and they all left for Sun City.

In a statement, the family expressed sadness at negative reports by the media surrounding the arrival of guests and the use of the air force base. Ghosh said it was sad that the media misrepresented facts without checking them and giving “consideration to the damage it is doing to the Gupta family at a time it wants to celebrate a very important wedding”, said Gosh.

“Air Force Base Waterkloof was used with full permission of the authorities to receive foreign dignitaries, including some ministers. It is a conventional and common practice between countries in receiving officials from another state. Waterkloof was used, as Lanseria Airport could not accommodate the size of jet chartered by the family.

“The permissions were applied for and granted to the Indian High Commission and not the family. These rights can be applied for by any foreign embassy. Naturally suitable protocol was used to receive and transport the foreign ministers to the wedding,” said Ghosh.

The guest list includes Bollywood actors and singers Anil Kapoor and Shankar Mahadevan.

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