Guptas’ plane broke five laws in South African landing

Durban, May 4 (IANS) The chartered plane carrying guests for a wedding in an influential Indian-origin family broke at least five regulations and laws as soon as it landed on an air force base in South Africa Tuesday.

The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 belonging to Indian carrier Jet Airways, then further contravened laws while at the Waterkloof air base near Pretoria, the Independent Online reported Saturday.

The wedding of Vega Gupta, daughter of Achla Gupta, the only sister of the politically connected Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – to India-born Akaash Jahajgarhia got mired in controversy following the incident.

The Guptas own the New Age newspaper and Sahara Computers.

Now, according to the report, a committee of directors-general have been given seven working days to probe the matter and inform the cabinet as to how the aircraft was allowed to land illegally at the air force base.

According to South African justice minister Jeff Radebe, investigations could include looking into the role the Gupta family played in the the whole matter.

Sharp reactions had poured in from various sections after the aircraft landed as it was not clear who had given the permission.

The South African National Defence Force, under which the air base falls, said that it was not aware of any such permission being given.

India’s deputy high commissioner to South Africa, Armstrong Changsan, had said that the high commission asked for and received permission from South African authorities to allow the chartered aircraft because some Indian government officials were on board.

According to Radebe, the aircraft landed without executive authority, and had not followed correct procedures.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said a preliminary investigation found that the plane entered South African airspace without the knowledge of the Civil Aviation Authority, was operated without a foreign operator permit, and those on board were not subjected to a custom search.

Meanwhile, the four-day extravaganza at the Palace of the Lost City five-star resort in Sun City ended Friday and the aircraft, carrying 200 guests, took off from OR Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg, to where it was taken from the Waterkloof base.

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