A controversial Indian mining tycoon has taken over a royal palace and flown in Brazilian dancers at a reported cost of $75-million (R1-billion) to celebrate his daughter’s wedding as the country reels from a cash crisis.
Up to 50 000 people were expected at the sprawling Bangalore Palace, a mock Tudor castle in southern India, to celebrate the wedding of Gali Janardhan Reddy’s daughter.
Indian media criticised the extravagance at a time when many Indians are struggling to find the cash to eat after the government’s shock move to pull high-value notes out of circulation in a bid to tackle tax evasion.
But one associate defended the lavish expenditure, saying Reddy wanted people to remember the wedding of his only daughter.
“It is unfortunate that a daughter’s wedding has been made an issue out of envy and rivalry,” Manju Swamy said.
“It’s an important moment for her parents and they wanted to celebrate the event in a way that befits the family’s status in society.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modiannounced last week that 500- and 1 000-rupee (R105 and R210) bills –85% of the cash in circulation – would cease to be legal tender.
Reddy, 49, a former minister with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) in the southern state of Karnataka, spent three years in jail for his alleged involvement in a mining scam before being freed on bail last year.
He refused to reveal how much he was spending on the celebrations, but said everything would be declared to the tax authorities.