Krishna asked MEA to get govt nod on hotel bill

Centre repeatedly turned down plea

Under the austerity heat, the government had asked Krishna to vacate the Hotel Maurya Sheraton room on September 8. His deputy Shashi Tharoor, who was staying in another star hotel, was also directed to pack his bag and baggage.

It was reported on Friday that as long back as on May 29—four days after Krishna took charge—the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) joint secretary in charge of establishment wrote to the Urban Development Ministry (UDM) informing it of the minister’s stay in the five-star hotel suite.

On June 17, MEA again sought authorisation for clearing bills (the UDM is the nodal ministry for arranging accommodation for ministers and MPs). The UDM said that transit stay in private hotels was not admissible for settlement and added that they (ministers and MPs) should stay in state guest houses or ITDC hotels.

The ministry also sought the approval of the Cabinet Secretariat, which merely referred the issue to UDM. On July 30, MEA again asked UDM to expand the official “hotel panel” to include Hotel Maurya Sheraton, where Krishna was staying. The MEA also asked UDM to authorise it to pay for Krishna’s stay at the hotel as his house was not ready, and that he had to meet a string of foreign dignitaries.

On September 4, UDM turned down this request as well. Ever since vacating the hotel on September 8, Krishna, currently in the US to attend the UN General Assembly session, has been staying at the Foreign Service Institute. Krishna’s official residence at 1, Tyagaraja Marg is yet to be made ready as renovation work is on.

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