CBI feud: The curious case of Asthana’s daughter’s lavish wedding & social media support

Referring to the replies received by the CBI from at least 4 hotels, an Indian Express report claimed that many venues were availed by the Asthana family for daughter’s wedding on complimentary basis

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media

NH Web Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “blue-eyed CBI boy” Rakesh Asthana reportedly got venue, catering, rooms and cars for his daughter’s wedding all on “complimentary basis” allegedly from at least a dozen persons including some loan-defaulters and fugitives.

A day after Gujarat cadre IPS officer and number 2 in the CBI Asthana was named in an FIR for allegedly accepting bribe, a CBI team landed in Vadodara on Sunday to get details of a lavish wedding ceremony of his daughter.

According to a front-page report in The Indian Express, CBI questioned about a dozen people and received replies from at least four hotels on expenses made and facilities provided during the 2016 wedding of its Special Director Asthana’s daughter in Vadodara.

The report claimed that “a perusal of these replies and CBI documents shows that several venues were availed by the Asthana family on complimentary basis.”Referring to the CBI documents, it stated that the catering for the event was provided by Hotel Express Towers which did not charge anything.

“In a signed document provided to CBI, the Hotel Express Towers said, “We were only supplying food at the event and no other services were provided… The function was done on complimentary basis so no bill was raised for the Sangeet Sandhya held on 24/11/2016.”

The report goes on to state that the wedding ceremony, according to CBI documents, was organised on November 25 at the Sunken Garden, The Lakshmi Vilas Palace, the home of the erstwhile royalty of the Gaekwads. “In its reply to the CBI, The Laxmi Vilas Palace has said that the venue was provided to the Asthana family on complimentary basis,” the report adds.

It further alleged that catering for the wedding was handled by Vadodara’s oldest five star hotel The Grand Mercure Surya Palace and the documents do not show the payment. Quoting sources, the report said that Asthana’s wife picked the bill of “more than Rs 10 lakh” for a guest list of up to 1,200 that attended the wedding.

The CBI team collected all these receipts and invoices as evidence, it added.

Apart from this, the Asthana family also booked 35 rooms for two days in the Sun City Club and Resort in Vadodara. In its reply to CBI, the club said it provided the rooms on “complimentary basis”. “As our resort was new at that time — even before we had launched the resort — we found it as an honor to host such prestigious guests to make them stay at our property and thus we offered it all on complimentary basis,” it reportedly said in its reply.

“The CBI has also claimed in its report that a BMW car and a Honda CRV were used by the Asthana family during the function. It says the vehicle was provided by Sandeep Barot, transport in-charge of Chetan Sandesara,” according to the report.

Pertinently, a PIL filed by petitioner Prashant Bhushan in the Supreme Court raising doubts over Asthana’s integrity, which was later dismissed by SC last year.

Meanwhile, the fight between the CBI's top two men is becoming curiouser and curiouser. An online India Today report has claimed that many users tweeting in support of Asthana have questionable authenticity.

“After closely monitoring the Twitter profiles and their posts, we found strange coincidences among them. Almost all of them tweeted the same article from the blog - 'Hindu Rashtra - Truth Prevails' - to defend Asthana,” it revealed and added: “Using domainbigdata.com, we found that this blog site was created only on Sunday. Till the time of filing this report, the blog site had just three posts.”

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Published: 23 Oct 2018, 2:42 PM