The Gup­tas’

CityPress - - News -

hen villa L35 in Dubai’s Emi­rates Hills came onto the mar­ket in March 2015, it was ad­ver­tised as “await­ing a VVIP ... with deep pock­ets”.

With a list­ing price of 110 mil­lion dirham (R448 mil­lion) it was, at the time, the most ex­pen­sive house in the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE). Dec­o­rated in mar­ble and gold, and with 10 bed­rooms, 13 bath­rooms, nine re­cep­tion rooms, a dou­ble grand stair­case, hand-painted dome, space for 11 cars, and chan­de­liers in vir­tu­ally ev­ery room, the house is ex­trav­a­gant even by Dubai’s stan­dards.

This res­i­dence, si­t­u­ated in “Dubai’s most ex­pen­sive post code” was con­firmed by two sep­a­rate sources to be the Gup­tas’ new house. It’s a world away from Sax­on­wold, Jo­han­nes­burg.

Elab­o­rate gold crests bolted to both en­trance gates bear the words “Gupta” and “Sa­ha­ran­pur” as well as the web­site ad­dress, www.sing­hala.com.

Al­though sing­hala.com is not live, records show that the web­site was reg­is­tered to the Gup­tas’ Sa­hara Com­put­ers in Jo­han­nes­burg by Ajay Gupta’s son, Ka­mal Sing­hala Gupta, in June last year.

As far as the other names go, Sa­ha­ran­pur is the town in Ut­tar Pradesh, In­dia, where the Gupta broth­ers Ajay, Atul and Ra­jesh grew up, and where they re­cently started con­struc­tion on a Hindu tem­ple that will cost more than R200 mil­lion.

A month ago, the fam­ily hastily boarded their Bom­badier Global 6000 jet on an 11pm flight to Dubai’s Al Mak­toum In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

At the time, sources close to the fam­ily told City Press that the fam­ily was “check­ing out” and head­ing to start a new life in Dubai. Ra­jesh Gupta, sources said, had been liv­ing in Emi­rates Hills for some time.

Flight records show that the Gupta jet, ZS-OAK, owned by their com­pany West­dawn In­vest­ments, has spent a month hop­ping be­tween Dubai’s Al Mak­toum In­ter­na­tional Air­port, An­talya in Turkey (where Ka­mal was re­cently mar­ried), and In­dia.

Then, on Mon­day morn­ing, ZS-OAK touched down at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port, be­fore head­ing to Cape Town on Tues­day.

It spent less than 24 hours there be­fore tak­ing off again and dis­ap­pear­ing from flight records.

City Press emailed a de­tailed list of ques­tions last week to Oak­bay CEO Nazeem Howa, fam­ily spokesper­son Gary Naidoo, and both their per­sonal as­sis­tants. Yes­ter­day Naidoo re­sponded say­ing: “We find it as­tound­ing that at a time when 7 500 Oak­bay jobs are at risk, the me­dia con­tinue to take great in­ter­est in the where­abouts of the Gupta fam­ily ... Let us be crys­tal clear here. We will not be pro­vid­ing a run­ning commentary on the pri­vate life of the Gupta fam­ily. They, like any other fam­ily, have a right to pri­vacy and a fam­ily life. We ask you to re­spect th­ese rights.”

Emi­rates Hills has a rep­u­ta­tion as the most ex­pen­sive sub­urb in Dubai, but “per square me­tre it isn’t”, an es­tate agent pointed out. The size of the prop­er­ties, built around the five-star The Ad­dress Montgomerie Dubai ho­tel and golf course, di­lute the price per square me­tre com­pared to apart­ments in the Burj Khal­ifa tower, the world’s tallest build­ing, at 828 me­tres. There, a five-bed­room pent­house is on the mar­ket for R416 mil­lion.

In Oc­to­ber last year, a man­sion in Emi­rates Hills, where the Gup­tas live, was sold for R380 mil­lion.

City Press vis­ited Dubai’s Depart­ment of Land to try to con­firm whether it was villa L35 that had reached this ex­trav­a­gant price tag, but we were laughed off by a clerk on the first floor who said that, in Dubai, th­ese records weren’t public. Knight Frank, the agency that sold villa L35, re­fused to con­firm or deny that the Gup­tas had bought it.

De­spite the high price tags, the lux­ury vil­las in Emi­rates Hills aren’t hid­den away down long drive­ways. This is, af­ter all, Dubai’s an­swer to Bev­erly Hills,

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