In Gupta Brothers’ Rise and Fall, the Tale of a Sullied A.N.C.

As the Gupta brothers prospered, they flaunted it.

They enlisted a prime Bollywood actor, Anil Kapoor, to provide a 2007 film they financed, “Gandhi, My Father,” concerning Gandhi’s time in South Africa. Both Mr. Mandela and Mr. Mbeki publicly showered the Guptas with reward.

In Saharanpur, the brothers invited 2,000 friends for the groundbreaking of the temple of their father’s reminiscence. Among the massive names was a shut household pal, Baba Ramdev, the strongest guru in India, typically credited with serving to carry Prime Minister Narendra Modi to energy.

In 2016, with a fortune conservatively estimated at $800 million, the Guptas had been South Africa’s seventh-richest household — the solely nonwhite household in the prime 10.

But two occasions — each, because it turned out, associated to planes — contributed to their undoing.

In 2013, the brothers chartered a aircraft with about 200 friends from India to attend the extravagant wedding ceremony of a niece in Sun City, South Africa’s Las Vegas. They invited family, pals, businessmen and politicians, principally from India.

“They needed to shout from the roof, ‘Hey, we have arrived,’” mentioned Amar Singh, a political determine in the Guptas’ house province in India.

But the brothers miscalculated. Using their political connections, they landed the aircraft close to Sun City — at a army base. Its use by a personal household set off a authorities inquiry, turning the Guptas into a favourite goal of opposition politicians keen to reveal corruption below Mr. Zuma.

Ajay Gupta mentioned he adopted the guidelines to get permission and didn’t remorse the lavish wedding ceremony.

“After that, we hand over the girl to the other family,” Mr. Gupta mentioned, tears welling in his eyes.

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