Indian Commission: Waterkloof landing legal
Indian High Commission says Indian ministers arriving for talks with SA were on board the Gupta plane.
JOHANNESBURG - The Indian High Commission said on Tuesday some ministers on board the controversial Gupta flight were in the country on official business and proper channels were followed to get landing rights.
Eyewitness News revealed on 30 April how around 200 Gupta wedding guests on board a privately chartered jet made an unauthorised landing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.
The commission said several ministers from the Uttar Pradesh provincial government were on the jet and the delegation had even signed a memorandum of intent with the Free State government a few days later.
The commission also listed the names of the provincial Indian ministers who were apparently in the country for bilateral engagements.
It moved to clarify its request for permission to land the charter flight at the military base, saying authorisation for landing was provided by the SA Air Force three weeks prior to the landing.
The request was made to ensure appropriate security arrangements and courtesies for the visiting dignitaries.
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said the wealthy Gupta family used diplomatic channels when it failed to get landing rights from ministers and the Airports Company of South Africa.
Indian commission officials said they communicated directly with officers at the Air Force command post.
They said a formal request was sent in February to the Chief of Defence and Foreign Relations and also to the South African National Defence Force which followed standard procedures of communication.
It said the request was made as the flight was carrying senior officials and political figures and their security had to be ensured.
However, the high commission, did not clarify why the Gupta family delegation were not declared.
SUSPENDED & CHARGED
Tshwane Metro Police said charges against several police officers involved in the Gupta scandal have not been dropped.
_The Times _reported that the charges against 198 officers including 11 Tshwane Metro Cops have been dropped and that the suspension of several other officials implicated had also been lifted.
Thus far, several officials from International Relations, Defence Force and police were suspended.
The metro officers were suspended and charged for attaching blue police lights to their personal vehicles and escorting Gupta wedding guests to Sun City.