The extravagant lives of India’s disgraced Gupta family: from mansions in Dubai and South Africa, and Lamborghini and Porsche supercars, to ‘big fat Gupta’ weddings, Atul and Rajesh splashed millions
All eyes are on the infamous Gupta family after the arrest of brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta in the United Arab Emirates in early June. The family are accused of “hijacking South Africa” by profiting from their links with former president Jacob Zuma.
The Gupta family left the country in 2016 after South African authorities began probing into their alleged dodgy business dealings. They have been accused of paying bribes to win state contracts and exert influence through powerful government appointments. They have denied all allegations against them.
The family are known to live a luxurious life and spare no expense when it comes to their homes and celebrations. Although they had humble beginnings in Saharanpur, India, their extravagant life in South Africa has often made headlines. Here’s how they have spent their millions …
City Press reported that when the Gupta family left South Africa, they bought a villa in Dubai that was advertised as “awaiting a VVIP with deep pockets”. According to the publication, it had a listing of US$27 million (around 100 million dirham) and at the time was considered one of the most expensive houses in the United Arab Emirates.
The publication also reported the mansion had 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, nine reception rooms, a hand-painted dome and a garage with space for 11 cars.
Sun City wedding
The Gupta family made headlines after they hosted an extravagant wedding at the luxury Sun City resort in South Africa in 2013. The holiday resort, in the country’s North West province, is known as the “kingdom of pleasure” and there the brothers’ niece Vega Gupta married Aakash Jahajgarhia over five days from April 30 to May 4, reported the country’s News24.
The Sunday Times reported that 231 rooms were booked for family members and guests while Mail & Guardian reported the event kicked off at the Palace Hotel where traditional South African dancers entertained guests. Musicians Kavita Paudwal and Kailash Kher were flown in from India to perform.
Guests were given bangles, turbans and scarves for various events so they could fit in with the look and feel of the wedding which was estimated to cost around US$2 million according to The Sunday Times. The publication reported the family spent thousands on Lindor milk chocolate hazelnut truffles alone.
Before the party at Sun City, a private jet carrying 200 passengers landed at the government’s Waterkloof Air Force Base. The use of a government air force base for the family event cause immediate controversy and was later mentioned during the Zondo commission investigating allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud.
‘My big fat Gupta wedding’ round two
Afterwards, Vega’s extravagant nuptials gained the nickname “my big fat Gupta wedding” in the local press. Then, in 2019, The Times of India reported another Gupta extravaganza was being planned, this time for the sons of Atul and Ajay Gupta, both getting married within days of each other.
Auli, a ski resort in the Chamoli district of the Himalayas in northern India, was the location for the multimillion dollar event. Suryakant Gupta hosted his wedding celebrations from June 18-20 and Shashank Gupta’s party ran from June 22-24.
eNCA reported the family hired out the whole resort. They spent millions to ferry guests to the top of the resort, using 200 choppers. The menu had 400 options to let guests try as many delicacies as possible and it was also reported that the invites were made of silver and sent in silver boxes.
When the family were living in South Africa, they stayed in the affluent area of Saxonwold, Johannesburg. The large estate was nicknamed the “Saxonwold compound” because of the number of homes bought in proximity to each other. Business Insider reports that aerial images of the area show four properties grouped together.
Business Insider reported that the family’s property portfolio in South Africa at the time was estimated to be worth more than US$4 million. The Saxonwold compound became famous as the place many politicians linked to the ruling party were said to have met with the family to do their deals.
A report by News24 revealed that after the Gupta family left South Africa, more than 100 cars were linked to them, but at the time, the whereabouts of the vehicles was unknown. The luxury cars included a Porsche Cayenne, Land Rover Range Rover, Maserati, Bentley Continental GT, Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi Q7 and several BMWs.
- Atul and Rajesh Gupta were arrested in the UAE for alleged corruption involving South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma; there, they were living like kings
- The family’s car collection alone includes a Porsche Cayenne, Land Rover Range Rover, Maserati, Bentley Continental GT, Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi Q7 and BMWs