TC leader leaves Ashok Hotel, agrees to pay “extra” expenses

December 02, 2009 08:28 pm | Updated 08:29 pm IST - New Delhi:

A file picture of Union Minister of State for Tourism, Sultan Ahmed, in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan

A file picture of Union Minister of State for Tourism, Sultan Ahmed, in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan

Trinamool Congress leader and Union Minister Sultan Ahmed, who ran up a bill of Rs. 37 lakhs for staying in the five-star Hotel Ashok, has moved out after his party asked him to pay “all the extra expenses” from his own pocket.

“I have left Ashok Hotel. I am making preparations to pay the bills,” Mr. Ahmed told PTI here but did not divulge the amount.

The Minister of State for Tourism said he had been allotted an official bungalow “only a few days ago” and was, therefore, staying in the hotel “as advised by the officials“.

Confirming that Mr. Ahmed had run up a bill of Rs. 37 lakhs, TC Lok Sabha Chief Whip Sudip Bandopadhyay, told PTI that Mr. Ahmed “has been asked to pay for all the extra expenses from his own pocket.”

Mr. Bandopadhyay said Mr. Ahmed was a first-time MP and Minister and was “asked by Tourism Ministry officials to move into Ashok Hotel. He was obviously misguided“.

He also said the party suspected the CPI(M), Left Front partners and “even some friendly parties” of being behind “efforts to defame” it.

According to sources, Mr. Ahmed was staying in a luxury category business suite comprising two rooms, whose going rate was Rs. 20,000 per night. But it was given to the Minister of State at a rate of Rs. 7,000 a night.

They said the bills have already been referred to the concerned authorities, indicating the Directorate of Estates and the Lok Sabha Housing Committee.

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