Storm In A Teacup: Congress Alleges "Tea Scam" After "Rat Scam"

The chief minister's office rubbished the claim saying the opposition's flawed inference did not include all expenditure.

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Storm In A Teacup: Congress Alleges 'Tea Scam' After 'Rat Scam'

Sanjay Nirupam said there was a 577 per cent rise in the bills of tea and snacks. (File photo)


Mumbai:  After "smelling a rat" in the state secretariat, the Maharashtra Congress unit on Wednesday sought to create a "storm in a teacup" by accusing the chief minister's office or CMO of inflated bills of tea and snacks. 

The CMO, however, rubbished the claim, saying the opposition's flawed inference did not include all expenditure.

Citing papers obtained through the Right To Information or RTI Act, Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Sanjay Nirupam said there was a 577 per cent rise in the bills of tea and snacks served in the chief minister's office.

"What tea is the chief minister drinking?" he asked.

"Information obtained under the RTI has revealed that the expenditure on tea and snacks in the chief minister's office (CMO) rose from around Rs 58 lakh in 2015-16 to Rs 3.34 crore in 2017-18, a dramatic increase of 577 per cent," the Congress leader said.

"The RTI document shows a steady increase in the amount of money spent on tea consumption in the chief minister's office," he said.

The allegation by the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president follows charges of large-scale irregularities in a contract awarded to kill rodents inside the Mantralaya, the state secretariat in south Mumbai.

Mr Nirupam said 18,591 cups of tea were served daily in the office of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

"What kind of tea is Devendra Fadnavis drinking? We have heard of green tea, yellow tea and so on. But Fadnavis seems to be drinking some kind of 'golden' tea. I cannot imagine this huge expenditure on tea when farmers are dying in Maharashtra on a daily basis," he said.

"On one hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes great pride in saying that he was a 'chaiwala' (tea seller).

Mr Fadnavis seems to have taken this a bit too far since the 'chai' he is drinking cannot be sold at a regular tea stall," he said.

The former MP added that both Modi and Fadnavis were taking the country for a ride in the name of 'chai'.

Responding to the Congress leader's allegations, the CMO in a statement said, "The conclusions drawn by Mr Nirupam are wrong. The expenditure he referred to as being on tea and snacks is in reality the expenditure on the overall hospitality.

 


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