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200 helicopters, Baahubali-like sets: Gupta brothers’ big fat Uttarakhand weddings under HC scanner

FE Online

The Uttarakhand high court on Monday rapped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state for allowing the embattled Gupta brothers to hold weddings of their sons in the eco-sensitive zone of Auli. The court has also directed the Gupta family to deposit Rs 3 crore as security money, for restoration work in case of environmental damage done.

Two high-profile wedding celebrations are slated to be held in the ecologically-sensitive Auli. The wedding of Suryakant, son of Ajay Gupta, is scheduled to be held from June 18 to June 20 while the marriage celebrations of Atul Gupta’s son Shashank would be held from June 20 to 22.

A PIL had been filed in the Uttarakhand high court by Rakshit Joshi, saying that such a lavish wedding would generate tonnes of garbage and cause immense damage to the environment. The PIL also mentioned that the court had, in an earlier order, prohibited night stays in the alpine meadows. But the state government allowing the weddings was in violation of that order.

High-profile wedding

The local administration had given clearance to the Gupta brothers a few days ago to organise the wedding ceremionies in Auli. Lavish arrangements have been put in place for the twin events, drawing comparisons with the royal affair recently witnessed at the wedding of Mukesh Ambani’s son. As per reports, temporary helipads have been constructed to assist in ferrying guests to and from the Dehradun airport. The family has hired the services of 200 helicopters for the same.

Flowers worth Rs 5 crore are being flown in from Switzerland to decoarte the venue. Over a 100 priests have been called in to officiate the marriage proceedings. Reports also said that the wedding cards were made of silver and weighed 4 kilograms each.

A number of huge props and sets, similar to the ones used in the movie Baahubali, have been set up across the ski resort. The estimated cost of these 2 weddings is Rs 200 crore.

Who are the Gupta brothers?

The brothers Ajay, Rajesh and Atul, all in their 40s, are under investigation for their close connections with former South African president Jacob Zuma. Zuma resigned as the President of South Africa on February 15 over corruption scandals. The Gupta brothers had shifted to South Africa from UP s Saharanpur in 1993. They own a property in Dehradun, including a palatial house in the city s Curzon Road locality. All three were given Y category security by the Congress government, however, last year the BJP regime upgraded it.

The embattled Gupta family own a range of businesses in South Africa, including computing, mining, air travel, energy, technology and media and have often been accused of using their political influence in South Africa to advance their business interests. The Gupta famiy has denied any wrongdoing.