Gupta wedding planners fined for open defecation, littering

DEHRADUN, India (AFP) – The wedding planners hired by South Africa’s scandal-plagued Gupta family have been fined for open defecation and littering following the opulent celebrations at a scenic Himalayan resort, an official said yesterday.

The wealthy Indian migrant family, who left South Africa in 2017, is being investigated over a web of murky deals involving government officials and state-owned entities during former president Jacob Zuma’s nine-year reign.

The three brothers had hired wedding planning firm E-Factors to organise their sons’ lavish nuptials last month at Auli, a pristine ski resort ringed by the Nanda Devi mountain range in northern Uttarakhand state.

The weddings drew widespread attention in India after photos showed the picturesque venue littered with rotting flowers, food and other garbage.

Local civic official SP Nautiyal said the planners have been fined INR250,000 (USD3,621) for leaving behind the mess. Some of the workers hired by the company had even defecated in the open, he said.

“For defecating in the open we have imposed a fine of INR100,000 and another INR150,000 penalty has been levied for scattering garbage,” Nautiyal said.

The hotel where the weddings took place has also been fined INR25,000 (USD362) for “keeping sewage lines open”.

Local media reports said civic workers had so far collected some 30 tonnes of garbage, with trucks being sent daily to collect the waste since June 22.