Dear Modi Ji, How Are Ministers Able to Afford Big Fat Weddings?
While your ministers are enjoying lavish weddings, the common man is standing in queues to withdraw money.
Dear Modi ji,
I’d like to draw your attention to two news reports: ‘50 chartered planes to ferry VVIPs to Nagpur for Gadkari’s daughter’s wedding’, which appeared in Hindustan Times, and ‘Weddings put off as families struggle to tide over crash crunch’ in The Times of India.
Apparently, there is one set of rules and standards for NDA ministers, and another set for the common man on the street.
The Big Fat Hypocrisy
As a result of the prevailing cash crisis, many families have put off their scheduled weddings. Many other weddings have broken down. But, Gali Janardhan Reddy, Mahesh Sharma, and Nitin Gadkari feel no crisis whatsoever, as they seem to have the blessings of bigwigs from both the BJP and the NDA.
Those that stand in the queues like myself feel that your intentions are great and temporary inconveniences should be ignored. At the same time, we feel perplexed to find no Janardhan Reddys, Mahesh Sharmas and Nitin Gadkaris in the queues. Adding insult to injury, they flaunt their wealth and mock the public at large. Are we living in a civilised society, Mr Modi?
I am asking the Enforcement Directorate to investigate the source of every rupee that these Super-Citizens have spent and the cash component of every expense they have incurred.
I am not sure whether the Enforcement Director has the authority or an inclination to carry out an impartial investigation, as the numerous cases of overseas accounts in the names of some of your chief ministers brought to their notice by me, are yet to be investigated by the Central investigation agencies till now.
While People Are Stuck in Queues, Your Ministers Are Enjoying Lavish Weddings
I do not think that any marriage in the West can boast of 50 chartered flights being arranged, as seems to be the case with Gadkari.
Are these chartered flights paid for by the corporate houses? Who are these corporate houses? Are there quid pro quos involved? How many Five-Star rooms have been booked on behalf of Gadkari at Nagpur? How many air-conditioned cars are deployed to ferry the VIPS to and fro? Who has paid for the same? What was the expenditure incurred on the wedding celebrations?
Have Gadkari and his associates withdrawn cash from banks at the expense of all those languishing for days in long serpentine queues?
Have the local senior Income Tax officials already compromised their position by attending the wedding reception as honoured guests?
Who are the NDA, RSS and BJP bigwigs who attended the wedding and endorsed the extravagance?
This calls for a full-fledged investigation, Mr Modi.
The Need For Judicial Intervention
I am marking a copy of this letter to Hasmukh Adhia, the Union Revenue Secretary so that he may feel that he too has the obligation to order an investigation into the conspicuously celebrated Gadkari wedding, especially at a time when his Department is harassing small jewellers and petty contractors in the name of “tightening” the noose around the necks of “black marketeers”.
I believe that in a democracy like ours, we need an explanation on this questionable wedding from the highest level in your government.
I believe that the CBDT and the Enforcement Directorate should investigate and report on this. The public at large have not yet fully digested the initial "clean" certificate provided by the Income Tax Department on the details of Gali Janaradhana Reddy's spending on his daughter's wedding.
This has certainly eroded the credibility of your government in regard to the demonetisation measure.
If you do not act quickly and firmly on these letters of mine, I will be constrained to seek judicial intervention, as every citizen in this country has the right to question the basics of governance.
I am circulating this letter widely to generate a public discussion and a debate on NDA's true stance on profligacy and conspicuous expenditure in the context of demonetisation.
(Read more letters addressed to Dear Modi Ji here.)
(The author is a former secretary of economic affairs. The article has been shared several times on social media, and has been lightly edited for grammar. The Quint could not independently reach the author about the same.)
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