Guptagate: Eight South African policemen plead guilty

Durban, June 4 (IANS) Eight South African police officers have pleaded guilty to the charges slapped against them in connection with a wedding scandal involving an influential Indian-origin Gupta family.

Apart from the eight, two Tshwane Metro Police officers pleaded not guilty while no charge was filed against a third as he could not attend the hearing, the Independent Online reported Tuesday.

The officers were charged with illegally escorting guests from an air base to the venue of a wedding related to the controversial Gupta family.

The wedding of Vega Gupta, daughter of Achla Gupta, the only sister of the influential and politically-connected Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – had sparked national outrage when a private chartered aircraft carrying around 200 guests from India was allowed to land at the Watrkloof air force base near Pretoria April 30.

The Tshwane metropolitan area includes the city of Pretoria.

It was also alleged Tshwane Metro Police officers escorted the guests in a cavalcade of blue-lighted vehicles from the air base to the wedding venue, the Palace of the Lost City five-star resort in Sun City near Pretoria.

The 11 police officers were suspended days after the event.

“The officers face different charges individually, some face charges of moonlighting while others face additional charges,” Tshwane city mayoral spokesperson Blessing Manale was quoted as saying.

“We respect the entrenched principle of justice and fairness.”

Manale also said that the officers would be sentenced June 27 and the charges too would be made public then.

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